Mumbai: The process of repatriating Indian nationals stranded abroad has begun; the onus is now on the BMC, which has arranged 3343 rooms in several hotels, including five stars, to quarantine these travellers for 14 days, as per protocol.
These rooms would be "paid quarantine facilities', Additional Municipal Commissioner of BMC Jayshree Bhoj told the Free Press Journal. The BMC estimates nearly 1900 Indians will be arriving in the city from abroad; this estimate is based on information emanating from the Centre; as many as seven flights will be reaching Mumbai post-May 9. According to the Centre's guidelines, it is mandatory to quarantine all travellers for 14 days.
Their return will be a new challenge in Mumbai's war against Covid-19, as the returnees will need to be screened and placed under institutional quarantine or admitted to hospitals, if they show symptoms. The 1,900 passengers are coming from Bangladesh, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, UK (London) and USA (San Francisco), said a senior BMC official. Many of these are badly infected nations.
The official added, "The returnees will be initially isolated as a precautionary measure. Their swab samples will be collected from their respective quarantine centres and, if need be, they will be immediately shifted to Seven Hill hospital. The hotel rooms have been arranged in 88 hotels, including two / three / four / five-star hotels, as well as apartment hotels and Oyo budget hotels.
"We have been instructed that those from other districts will be allowed to travel to their home towns and report to their district headquarters; the district officials will arrange for quarantining these passengers. For passengers belonging to the MMR region, they will be quarantined in these 88 hotels on payment basis. These passengers have already filled their consent form where they have agreed to pay for the flights, for quarantine facilities etc. In case someone is found to be symptomatic on arrival, he will be sent to the Seven Hills Hospital, in Andheri," Bhoj added.