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53 media persons, including repoerters, cameramen and photographers from Mumbai, tested positive for coronavirus on Monday. Civic officials said they would be shifting all 53 to Covid critical centres (CCC) and keep them under observation. They will also carry out contact tracing.

The cases were discovered after 167 media personnel underwent tests at a special camp organised by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with the Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi from April 16-17.

“Of the 167 samples of media people collected for coronavirus testing, 53 tested positive,” confirmed the BMC's health committee chairman Amey Gole.

Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer, BMC, said 171 had undergone corona testing of whom 53 were said to be positive, while the others' reports are awaited. “Most of these media personnel are asymptomatic and are low-risk categories. We have asked them to home quarantine and will shortly be moving them to CCC centres,” she said.

BMC officials said all those who have tested positive were on the field, covering the pandemic, so it will be a tall order, trying to get details of those whom they have come in contact with in the last one month. “It will be hard for them to recall whom they have met but we will try to trace their close contacts and quarantine them,” said officials.

Last Friday, three journalists tested positive and had been immediately moved to the civic isolation facility for the asymptomatic COVID-19-positive at Powai.

Officials said the trio were part of a team of 40 journalists staying at a hotel in Bandra, from where they had been commuting to South Mumbai for work every day. The other 37 people in the team have now been quarantined at the Bandra hotel itself as their test results were negative.

Vinayak Vispute, BMC assistant commissioner, H West ward, said the media house had conducted testing of these journalists at private laboratories, where they had tested positive. But their samples will be tested again by the government lab for reconfirmation. “As a precautionary measure, all three journalists have been moved to an isolation facility in Powai where asymptomatic positive patients are kept. They will be tested by the BMC,” he said.

These mediapersons, who mostly perform field duties, were also given tips to ensure their safety in public places, to wear masks, use sanitisers, etc in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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