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BMC moves to check possible Covid-19 spread as people return to Mumbai

In a review meeting, senior officials at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday instructed 24 ward officers to intensify Covid-19 testing in their respective areas.

With the 10-day Ganpati festival wrapping up on Sunday, the civic body has decided to intensify testing for Covid-19 to ensure the spread of a possible infection is contained at the earliest.

In a review meeting, senior officials at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday instructed 24 ward officers to intensify Covid-19 testing in their respective areas. The civic body said it will target areas from where a large number of people had travelled outside Mumbai and were now coming back to the city after the Ganesh festival.

The civic body fears that the number of infections may increase with the inflow of people. Ward officers have been instructed to identify localities where testing camps can be set up. “We have been asked to conduct RT-PCR test on people who are returning to the city after the festival. We are shortlisting localities in each ward. Healthcare workers will be going door-to-door, asking people who have returned after travelling to get tested. For example, in K/West, Versova is one such locality where we will increase testing,” said Prithviraj Chavan, assistant municipal commissioner, K/West ward.

The city’s positivity rate has been hovering around one per cent since the beginning of this month. The daily positivity rate had spiked to 1.7 per cent on September 15. BMC said it will either hold testing camps or connect such persons to the nearest civic testing centre. It has activated all its 266 free RT-PCR testing centres at various dispensaries.

BMC said the next 15 days are crucial and have appealed to those who have travelled to get tested. “We are targeting areas at the city’s entry points such as bus depots and Dadar station where we have set up testing booths. In addition, free testing camps in residential areas and housing societies are also being set up,” said Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, G/North ward.

Since the beginning of the Ganpati festival on September 10, the daily testing numbers have fallen below 30,000 in the city. In the last 24 hours, BMC conducted 31,860 tests; the daily positivity rate was 1.31 per cent. On Monday, Mumbai recorded 419 Covid-19 positive cases.

The BMC plans to increase the daily testing post the festival. The civic body aims to conduct around 60,000 tests daily, including rapid antigen tests (RAT) for early identification. On August 20, BMC had conducted the highest number of tests in a single day— 56,566.

Guardian minister for Mumbai suburbs Aaditya Thackeray has also asked BMC to verify offices and buildings which claim to be fully vaccinated. He tweeted, “I have also requested the @mybmc to prepare a logo that would have a QR code to verify housing societies, buildings, offices that are fully vaccinated. This can be displayed at the entry gates.”

Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar said, “People should take care as they would have come in contact with others at their hometowns.”

Only 73 vaccination centres open today

Due to limited availability of stock, only 73 vaccination centres, out of the total 316, will function on Tuesday, said the Mumbai civic body. In a statement issued on Monday, BMC said that the list of 73 centres will be published on its social media page. The vaccination will resume at all the 316 civic and government-run centres on Wednesday.

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