COVID-19: BMC starts door-to-door surveillance

Teams visit over 10,000 societies to check for people with travel history, symptoms

March 17, 2020 01:42 am | Updated 04:50 am IST - Mumbai

Fisherfolk busy at work at Sassoon Docks on Monday. For many, working from home is not an option.

Fisherfolk busy at work at Sassoon Docks on Monday. For many, working from home is not an option.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials have started door-to-door visits as a measure to tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic. Officials have visited more than 10,000 housing societies to check for people with any history of foreign travel, anyone with COVID-19 symptoms and also tracking those discharged after showing no symptoms.

The BMC is taking other steps to deal with the outbreak. A doctor has been made part of the disaster management control room round-the-clock to provide telephonic advice, and Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar has also appealed to people not to panic.

This is apart from the screening, testing and quarantine efforts being taken by the civic body.

As part of the community surveillance, 1,067 BMC teams have visited 10,027 housing societies and 254 individual houses. The objective is to look for any patients with travel history or similar symptoms, create awareness about coronavirus, dispel myths and make people aware about precautions.

Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner of G North ward, said, “This is an awareness-cum-surveillance drive. Our staff speaks to either the society chairperson or individual house owners. They are informed of the symptoms and asked if any resident has them. If there is such a person, we can move them into isolation. We also ask if anyone has travel history, and ask them to home quarantine for 14 days.”

Vinayak Vispute, assistant municipal commissioner of H West ward, said, “For Category C patients — those who have returned from abroad but did not have symptoms — we have to track them even after they test negative to check if they are following all rules of home quarantine. We also have to check if they develop symptoms later. We have to stay in constant touch with them for 21 days.”

Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer of the disaster management control room, said after getting several queries from anxious callers about symptoms, a doctor was added to their team. “The doctor asks them about their symptoms and if needed, advises them to go visit their local physician.”

Ms. Pednekar, who had called the virus ‘China-made’, appealed to people to take utmost precaution.

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