COVID-19: 'Miscommunication' triggers panic at Bandra's Sahitya Sahawas

Updated: May 20, 2020, 07:42 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

H East ward office seals entire Bandra East society instead of 2 buildings that reported 9 cases on Monday; opens it after mid-day, local leaders' intervention

BMC officials put up banners Sahitya Sahwas gates in Bandra East on Tuesday
BMC officials put up banners Sahitya Sahwas gates in Bandra East on Tuesday

Even though the BMC revised the containment protocol, declaring that only floors with COVID-19 infections would be sealed, the H East ward office on Tuesday shut off the entire Sahitya Sahwas in Bandra East where cases were found in just two of the nine buildings.

This triggered panic among the residents who rushed out to stock up essentials. However, after mid-day and local leaders intervened, the BMC opened up the society and sealed only the two affected buildings.

Nine cases — six from one family and three from another in two buildings — were reported on Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, the ward office informed the society office-bearers that Sahitya Sahwas, where around 500 residents stay in 84 flats, was being sealed. The residents were aware of the cases and were taking precautions, but they panicked on receiving this information.

"I got a call from BMC officials that they are sealing the society for the next 14 days. I informed all the society members on WhatsApp and asked them to collect essentials as they won't be allowed to go out for two weeks," said a society office member. A resident said they were angry that the entire society was being sealed when it was not needed, and that they rushed to "collect milk and groceries for the next week."

Anil Trimbakkar, ex-corporator, said, "There was a miscommunication. The health officer informed about nine cases in two buildings, but the officers on the duty here thought the cases were spread all over the colony, hence, they shut it off completely." Resident Siddharth Pardhe told mid-day, "The BMC put up banners about sealing the society on both the main gates. The secretary also advised that we buy essentials for at least seven days."

The BMC later reviewed its decision and removed the banners. "I received a call from an executive engineer of the BMC and he told me it was a misunderstanding," said a society officer-bearer. Ashok Khairnar, assistant commissioner of H East Ward, said, "Why should we seal the entire colony if there are cases in particular buildings. We will look into the matter."

Approx no. of residents in the society

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