All international arrivals to be thoroughly screened; strict Covid protocol to be implemented
Geetanjali Minhas | November 28, 2021 | Mumbai
After reports of Omicron, a new potentially contagious variant of coronavirus detected in South Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong, Britain and Israel, more European countries have reported cases, raising global concern and imposing travel restrictions.
The WHO has classified it as a ‘variant of concern’, and has issued a warning to all nations to exercise extreme caution.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday held a meeting with BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal to discuss the situation arising with the advent of the new variant and take precautionary measures.
Chahal said a number of countries and airlines have taken precautionary measures in response to the WHO warning about the discovery of the new strain. He directed the administrations of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the police to take all necessary precautions at their respective levels.
There are no direct flights to Mumbai from African countries infected with the new virus but the matter should not go unnoticed at all, he said.
If an international traveller arrives in Mumbai directly or by air from an African country where the new Covid virus has been found, their passport should be strictly checked. A medical examination should also be done on the basis of whether the passengers are showing signs of infection or not. According to the current system, they should be given instructions for segregation. If a traveller is found to be infected, he or she should be subjected to immediate institutional segregation and verification of the genome sequencing of the infected specimens. Further action should be taken immediately after finding the citizens in the vicinity of the victims.
Chahal added that the instructions of the central and state governments are expected to be received soon and accordingly detailed instructions regarding testing, segregation etc. of international passengers arriving at the airport would be issued by the BMC.
The municipal commissioner also directed that all Jumbo Covid Centres set up by BMC should be re-inspected to ensure that they are functioning properly. Medical and other necessary manpower, stock of medicines, production and storage of medical oxygen, electrical system, firefighting system should be reviewed.
Further, strict action will be taken against those who do not wear proper masks as well as employees working in various establishments, shops, malls and movie theatres if they are found unvaccinated. Only those citizens who have received both doses of the vaccine should be given access to public places.
“Just as the target for the first dose of Covid vaccine has been met in Mumbai, now the target for the second dose needs to be met urgently,” said Chahal.
He instructed all divisional offices to review and relook Covid prevention measures and plan to start the ward war room at full capacity with the evolving situation, have readily available ambulances and other vehicles, disinfect all public toilets in slums and similar areas at least five times a day, and all private hospitals to start preparing again for the treatment of Covid.
Additional municipal commissioners Suresh Kakani, Ashwini Bhide, P Velarasu, all joint commissioners, deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, joint police commissioner (law and order) Vishwas Nangre Patil, other police officers, officials of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, superintendents of all major hospitals of BMC, medical superintendents of suburban hospitals, executive health officers and members of the task force were present at the meeting chaired by Chahal in the evening.
The Covid-19 pandemic has so far claimed more than 5 million lives of people all over the world.
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