Mumbai: Social distancing was briefly thrown to the wind as migrant workers, stranded in Mumbai since the nationwide lockdown from March 25, crammed in lines outside the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) dispensaries on Sunday, to get medical certificates stating they did not have any influenza like symptoms. Only after police intervened and warned those in the queue to observe social distancing was a semblance of order restored.
This came after the civic chief executive health officer issued a circular on Sunday stating medical colleges, dispensaries and peripheral hospitals under the BMC, could issue certificates to migrant labourers, tourists, students and others wanting to return to their hometowns.
As per the circular, medical practitioners will have to assess the health history of the individual and issue medical certificates to those without any symptoms, said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani. Those displaying coronavirus-like symptoms will be asked to home quarantine and, if necessary, their samples will be taken for testing.
A migrant outside one such dispensary said he learnt about the circular that BMC doctors could give medical certificates for travel, which would make it easy for him to return home. Since the lockdown began, I have been waiting to leave but I had no options.
A friend working in BMC informed me about the new circular, so I came to the nearest dispensary to get the certificate, said Siva Krishnan from Kerala who is studying in Mumbai. However, experts have raised questions, saying while it is a good initiative, who will monitor whether the certificates are only given to those who have no symptoms?
The BMC needs to keep a close watch on this, as everyone wants to leave the city but if a corona-positive gets a 'fit' certificate, he will spread infection to others. There should be transparency in the process, he said.