Coronavirus outbreak: Foreigners' registration office has no safety measures

Updated: Mar 17, 2020, 07:47 IST | Diwakar Sharma, Faizan Khan | Mumbai

mid-day team visited Foreigners' Regional Registration Office, found staff, security and visitors without masks, sanitisers

Foreigners at the registration office are told 'no sanitiser'. Pic/Ashish Raje
Foreigners at the registration office are told 'no sanitiser'. Pic/Ashish Raje

As the numbers of people infected by the Coronavirus rise in Maharashtra, the seat of governance in the state, Mantralaya, and the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office (FRRO) which both see high footfall, don't offer any protection against the disease to people on their premises. Staff, police and visitors have not been provided with safety equipment to ward off Coronavirus. A mid-day team visited both offices to check on the claims of ministers and police personnel about measures in place to fend off the virus there, and found they are far from true.

Maharashtra, the state worst hit in India, has recorded 37 people infected by Coronavirus.

'Kuch karo hamare liye'
The mid-day team checked all four gates of Mantralaya where the security staff members were not equipped with any protective gear like face masks or hand sanitisers. All the gates are manned by the Mumbai police. "Thousands of visitors come to Mantralaya every day. We have not been given face masks or hand sanitisers. We are exposed to Coronavirus," said one of the security members.

Another personnel said, "Kuch karo sahab humlogon ke liye, virus kahi se bhi aa sakta hai. Humlogon ko kuch ho jaega to kaun dekhega?" (Please do something for us. Whose going to help us if we get infected?)

There was no hand sanitiser in the waiting hall outside the office of state health minister Rajesh Tope where a handful of visitors were seen. None of the staff at the state health ministry was seen wearing a mask. However, everyone has been given a tiny bottle of hand sanitiser.

Though entry for visitors at Mantralaya has been suspended from Monday, some were seen at the Garden Gate, where a desk - manned by a female staffer attached to the Chief Minister Office (CMO) was present. But she too did not have protective gear.

Many staff members at FRRO told mid-day foreigners demand hand sanitisers but they dont have any to give them. "Neither face masks nor hand sanitisers have been given to us. We have been protecting ourselves with dupattas or handkerchiefs and have been washing our hands at regular intervals" said a staffer at FRRO.

Police speak
Mumbai police and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Pranaya Ashok said, "All personnel of Mumbai Police have been provided masks and their offices are equipped with hand sanitisers. We will check why these protective gears are not available at FRRO and Mantralaya."

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