Coronavirus in Mumbai: BMC’s building sealing protocol changes again
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After facing opposition and criticism from residents and public representatives, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has once again revised its protocol on sealing buildings where even if just one person is detected with Covid-19. As per the re-amended protocol, issued on Wednesday, the civic body will now seal a building or a wing completely only if more than three positive cases were reported.

The move comes in the backdrop of complaints from citizens and local political leaders who had taken exception to the BMC’s decision, issued last week, to seal entire buildings in the western suburbs and restrict the movement of its residents for 14 days, even if a single Covid-19 case was reported in a building.

Initially, when the civic body began sealing areas and buildings in March and April, it had stipulated that even if one person from the building premises is tested positive, the entire premises would be sealed and it would be termed as a containment zone.

However, in May, the concept of containment zone (CZ) was further divided in two categories CZ -- sealing for a congested area (slum pocket or chawls) where a positive case is reported and sealed buildings. In May, the BMC had stated that there was no need to seal an entire building or a wing if a single case is detected. It said that in such cases, the building can be disinfected properly and only the concerned floor could be sealed.

A week ago, the civic body had reverted to its initial protocol of sealing entire buildings following a spurt in Covid-19 cases in Andheri, Malad, Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar areas. As per the BMC’s ward wise data, Covid-19 growth rate in the three areas is between 1.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent, which is higher than Mumbai’s daily average growth rate of Covid19 cases -- 0.93 per cent. The virus doubling rate for these areas is also less than the city’s average of 75 days.

The BMC has now once again said sealing entire buildings is not necessary if even a single Covid-19 case is found. “If three or more Covid-19 cases are reported from a building, then the ward office will seal a building or a wing completely. If fewer than three cases are reported, then civic officials will only seal a particular floor of the building and no restriction will be imposed on the movement of other residents who are in the unaffected areas,” a senior BMC official said.

Currently there are 921 sealed buildings in K east ward (Andheri east, Jogeshwari, Vile Parle), 673 in R Central ward (Borivali), 526 sealed buildings in R south ward (Kandivali), 389 in P north ward (Malad) and 213 in R North ward (Dahisar). These sealed buildings in the above five wards together have reported 5683 cases as per BMC's data.

The amended guidelines, officials said, have already come into effect from Wednesday itself.

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