In the wake of a massive spike in COVID- 19 cases, the BMC has issued a fresh set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for marking of micro-containment zones. The new guidelines state that housing societies having more than five active COVID-19 patients shall be sealed and treated as micro-containment zones(MCZ).
The SoP states that online e-commerce supplies and delivery of newspapers and essential items will be undertaken only till the office of the housing society and not door-to-door for buildings marked MCZs.
The SOP further stipulates that no resident should be allowed to go out without intimating the society chairman or secretary and another top office-bearer of the society or the police personnel deployed, except in cases of medical emergencies or important exams of students (Board or university)
"Any asymptomatic positive patient in home isolation shall not move out of his/her flat. An FIR shall be filed by ward officials against violators," the BMC official said.
The Mumbai civic body has warned that it will inflict penalties on those housing societies which are found to be violating its norms and said police personnel shall be deployed at the entry gate of sealed buildings. The housing societies are further directed to put a board outside their gates to inform visitors about COVID-19 cases on their premises and deny them entry.
The BMC has also directed the housing societies to monitor all restrictions related to micro-containment zones and keep a close watch. "A fine of Rs 10,000 will be imposed on a housing society for violating its norms. Subsequent instances of violation will attract a penalty of Rs 20,000. The assistant municipal commissioners of respective wards will be responsible for ensuring strict implementation of norms related to MCZs, with the help of local police. Police personnel will be deployed at the entry gate of every sealed building, henceforth to be addressed as a micro-containment zone," said Iqbal Singh Chahal, BMC commissioner.
Meanwhile, the civic body on Monday issued a circular stating that private hospitals across Mumbai can conduct rapid antigen tests (RATs) on walk-in serious patients having influenza-like symptoms, but the same can not be done on asymptomatic persons, the city civic body has said.
RAT is a quick and cheap way to discover coronavirus: it detects the presence of viral proteins in a sample from the respiratory tract of a person. According to new guidelines, without permission from the local authorities, no hospital can start rapid antigen tests on its premises.
In another set of guidelines, the civic body has directed private laboratories to upload COVID-19 test reports on the ICMR portal first and inform positive status to the patient on a subsequent day.
"It was found that laboratories have not been following the mandatory norm of maintaining 24-hour Turn Around Time and were sharing test reports directly with patients before informing the BMC. The said guidelines have also directed laboratories to give priority to sample collection to symptomatic persons over asymptomatic cases. The licence will be cancelled of those laboratories which will be found violating the protocol/ norms," said Suresh Kakani, BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health).