Coronavirus outbreak: Worli club turns into quarantine centre
Civic authorities zero in on National Sports Club of India; mammoth entertainment venue The Dome used for facility
Mumbai is opening up a new front in the Coronavirus war. Civic authorities have zeroed in on the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) as a quarantine centre for suspect COVID-19 cases. The club's massive The Dome space in the Vallabhbhai Patel (VP) stadium adjacent to it, was transformed into a quarantine centre on Wednesday.
Atul Maru, honorary secretary of the Worli club, which stands opposite the Haji Ali Dargah, confirmed that The Dome, Mumbai's go-to destination for weddings and events, has been temporarily taken over by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as a quarantine centre for 500 suspect cases - contacts of positive patients. Maru sent a mass SMS communication on Tuesday, April 7 to at least 17,600 club members informing them of the arrangement.
Atul Maru, honorary secretary, NSCI
Assistant Commissioner of G/South Ward Sharad Ughade did not respond to numerous calls and messages seeking comment on the same.
Maru said, "The Dome is a mammoth venue. It can seat at least 3,000 persons. We got a directive recently that the civic officials want to acquire the premises for a quarantine facility. As individuals, part of the club management, and as an organisation, we are all here with the city to fight the virus together. There was an inspection of the club premises by officials. Incidentally, it has been completely shuttered since the lockdown. There were two areas that were looked at: The Dome and The Chambers. The Dome has been chosen. We have extended all help to authorities."
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of NSCI, Col. M K Choudhury was at the site on Wednesday morning. He said, "There was fumigation and sanitisation of the premises, not just the ground floor but the entire VP Stadium. The Dome is an accessible venue and very convenient when it comes to infrastructure. It is well lit, equipped with air-conditioning and toilets. It is just five minutes away from the Nehru Centre in Worli." By late afternoon, beds were moved into the premises. There is talk that people could be moved in today.
The ready infra and mammoth space may make The Dome a practical choice in a city where space crunch is a big factor when it comes to fighting the virus. The nature of the disease necessitates distancing, so a big space is necessary when housing suspect cases. This brings up the question whether officials will start looking at more SoBo clubs as quarantine centres. Clubs have built in infrastructure and most importantly, the place to accommodate a substantial number of persons. Praveen Pardeshi, BMC Commissioner said club spaces could be, "reserved for possible quarantine facilities. Not all are being used for quarantine currently but we can reserve all clubs if need be for these purposes."
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