Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chief Praveen Pardeshi
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation chief Praveen Pardeshi
Photo by BL SONI

Mumbai: Against the backdrop of coronavirus pandemic, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation chief Praveen Pardeshi on Monday issued a veiled warning to all companies to initiate 'work-from-home' wherever possible.

"We highly advise companies to initiate work-from-home policiesa If necessary, we will make this mandatory in the days to come," Pardeshi said.

His comments came in the wake of a similar appeal by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to the private sector, urging them to implement 'work-from-home' policies in view of the COVID-19 concerns.

This can help decongest the suburban trains, metro networks, public buses and other forms of transport systems especially in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, the three cities where maximum number of COVID-19 cases have been detected, officials said.

In a special appeal on the Facebook page "Humans of Bombay" the civic chief of India's richest municipal corporation said that Mumbai has currently five positive cases, in quarantine in the Kasturba Hospital.

Presently there are around 600 people in 'self-quarantine' at their homes as they have a history of recent foreign travel.

"For passengers from high-risk countries, quarantine norms will be applicable for those showing symptoms. Those without symptoms will mandatorily be home-quarantined for 14 days with follow-up calls to ensure they are not carriers," Pardeshi said.

The BMC also plans to increase its testing capabilities from existing 200 daily to more at different public hospitals and expand the facilities at private hospitals.

He said asocial-distancing' is the key to containing the outbreak for which a lock-down has been enforced in schools, colleges, malls, swimming pools, gyms, etc, though school-college examinations are going on as scheduled.

"School officials are instructed to send back any students who show symptoms such as dry cough, runny nose and breathlessness. Students may also be excused from attending the exam, provided that they submit a medical certificate that states they have a cold, cough or fever," Pardeshi said.

The civic chief said local transportation would continue to allow travel for essential needs like going to hospitals or public utility services, but advised people to avoid all travel for non-essential activities like attending social events.

He called upon all to exercise hygiene, avoid spreading rumours and maintain calm - "We will get through this together".

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