BL Soni

MUMBAI: After the owner of a popular tea stall in Kalanagar, Bandra (East), near Matoshree -- the residence of Maharashtra Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray -- tested positive for novel coronavirus on Monday evening, the area was sealed by civic authorities.

The victim has been shifted to the Hindu Hruday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray trauma hospital in Jogeshwari (east), BMC officials confirmed. The case is, however, likely to have much larger ramifications, fear locals and BMC officials, as many security guards and workers on duty in the area reportedly came in contact with the tea vendor.

According to preliminary estimates, over 100 people, including officials and security personnel in the area, especially those on essential services, are likely to be replaced as a precautionary measure and will also undergo tests for coronavirus.

The tea stall is located on the Sahitya Sabha lane in a corner near the famous Sharda Sangeet Vidyalaya in Bandra East. After the tea stall owner was shifted to the hospital, the area was thoroughly sanitised by spraying sodium hypochlorite, BMC officials said.

The periphery near 'Matoshree,' too, was sprayed with disinfectant as a precautionary measure said, a civic official said on Monday. "The majority of workers, security guards and even cops on duty went to this stall during lockdown for tea and refreshments. The civic body must check them all as the damage will be huge otherwise.

Like all those who came in contact with the tea stall owner, it is likely they must have infected others who came in contact with them. People in our locality are in a state of panic since we heard about the tea vendor," said a local resident. "The vendor was shifted to HBT trauma hospital on Monday evening, and contact tracing is on.

We are in the process of identifying low risk and high-risk contacts of the tea stall owner and will quarantine them," said a senior BMC official. The civic body is also planning to organise a health check-up camp or fever clinic in the area for people in the area on Tuesday.

When contacted, Ashok Khairnar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of H (East) ward said, "I have still not received the report on the tea stall owner. Kasturba hospital can confirm the details of the case."

Meanwhile, in its bid to check and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the city, the BMC has demarcated as many as 226 containment zones in the city.

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