The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has relaxed its stringent institutional quarantine norms for Mumbai-bound cricketers returning from Australia via Dubai. After a new coronavirus strain found in UK, the Mumbai civic body has set very strict institutional quarantine norms for those returning to the city from UK, Europe, South Africa and Gulf countries.
The cricketers have been granted exception from the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule, which includes first seven days quarantine in a hotel or institution, following which the returnee undergoes a COVID-19 test and on testing negative for COVID-19, can head home and spend remaining seven days under home quarantine.
A senior BMC official said, “They have come from Australia, just transiting through Dubai. Hence, this has been considered as a special case and they are granted exemption from hotel-institution quarantine."
The move has come as a huge relief to the Indian cricket stars, who have been allowed to head home instead of an institutional quarantine of seven days before getting tested for the infection on the seventh day. "Yes, they have been exempted from institutional quarantine. However, they have been advised for a stay at home through a verbal advisory," P Velrasu, BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects).
The cricketers who have been granted the exemption include Ajinkya Rahane, who captained India in the last three Tests, vice-captain Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Prithvi Shaw and chief coach of Indian cricket team and former cricketer Ravi Shastri .
BMC has been very strict with granting exemption to those returning from the affected countries. The civic body has even filed FIR against those skipping institutional quarantine.
Earlier this month, BMC lodged an FIR against Bollywood actors Arbaaz Khan, Sohail Khan and his son Nirvaan, for skipping the mandatory institutional quarantine after returning from the UAE. According to the BMC officials, the trio allegedly misled the teams at the airport by telling them they were going to a hotel to quarantine themselves but instead, headed home.
Last week, the civic body lodged an FIR against three officials on Airport duty including one of its own deputy engineer for taking bribe from the returnees and illegally granting them an exemption from institutional quarantine. The deputy engineer was suspended immediately and inquiry has been set up against the three accused.