COVID-19 in Mumbai: Be ready for emergencies in your society, says BMC

Updated: Jun 18, 2020, 07:45 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

K West ward issues advisory to all housing societies amid rising cases; children and senior citizens advised to stay within society's boundaries

Serenity Complex in Oshiwara in one of the societies in K West ward
Serenity Complex in Oshiwara in one of the societies in K West ward

AS the number of cases in residential buildings increases, the K West ward on Tuesday advised housing societies to take measures including setting up emergency isolation facilities in the society premises and keeping senior citizens and children below 15 years indoors.

The circular, issued by Assistant Municipal Commissioner Vishwad Mote, was posted on the official Twitter handle of the K West ward, has been forwarded to residents' associations on WhatsApp and is being handed to societies during visits by officials.

The K West ward comprises Andheri West, Jogeshwari West, Lokhandwala, Oshiwara, Versova and parts of Juhu. People with co-morbidities, diabetes, hypertension and cancer have been asked to be more careful. The advisory also asks societies to cooperate with the BMC staff visiting buildings for screenings so that mild symptoms can be picked up, verified and tested early. "Senior citizens and children below 15 years should strictly stay at home," the advisory said.

Children inside the Serenity Complex's play area in Oshiwara
Children inside the Serenity Complex's play area in Oshiwara

11 points for safety
The 11-point advisory asks buildings to set up "isolation facilities wherever possible" and "have oxygen cylinders within the society premises in case of emergencies".

"Society shall monitor each and every person coming inside the premises and check with the help of Oxymeter and thermal detector through private security of the building," read the public notice, adding that the reading would be valid only for 24 hours, "hence daily monitoring is required."

The notice further advises that no maids, vegetable/fruit/grocery vendors, dhobi or "any other service provider" should be allowed within a sealed building or in a sealed area within the building. "Repair works, if any, except pre-monsoon or emergency works by electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc. need to be restricted. No new work such as interior or construction is allowed," the notice said.

'Don't humiliate'
The June 16 notice also read, "All members are requested to ensure proper behaviour with those who are found to be COVID-19 positive within the premises and are home quarantined. Humble request — do not discriminate and humiliate COVID-19 positive people."

'Applaud COVID yoddhas'
Assistant Commissioner Mote said, "Some societies have a big clubhouse or a society office in the basement or an empty flat where they could set up an isolation centre to be two steps ahead in case of an emergency," he said. "BMC will encourage the use of oxygen cylinders so that it is readily available in emergencies." He added that senior citizens and children may only go downstairs but not step outside the society's boundaries since they are more prone to infection. "People are discriminating against positive patients so there are chances that people would want to hide the infection and not come forward. We should instead applaud the COVID-19 yoddhas battling the disease and those who have come out of it successfully," Mote added.

What residents say
Karan Jotwani, the founder of Lokhandwala Oshiwara Citizen's Association acknowledged that the numbers have gone up with the ward going from the 6th to the 4th spot. "But that is the fault of residents who have taken this unlock casually and have contracted the virus. Societies can make these isolation facilities in clubhouses, enclosed covered parking spots, etc as beds are difficult to find. Many companies and hospitals are offering setup facilities for such needs," he said.

He added that societies in the ward should take the BMC's advisory seriously to remain equipped when the situation demands. "Residents need to take more precautions to reduce the number of cases as even after recovery, you cannot bounce back to same level of health," Jotwani said.

June 16
Day the circular was issued

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