The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Monday revised its protocol for sealing buildings where coronavirus cases are detected and said that the entire building need not be sealed, the Times of India reported.

“Only that particular floor can be sealed as decided by BMC authority,” the civic body said in a statement. However, it may decide to seal the entire building if necessary.

For more than a month, Mumbai has seen India’s biggest spread of infections, with 21,152 cases recorded till Monday evening. Mumbai has more than 2,800 containment zones, and its Covid-19 detection rate – the number of persons testing positive out of every 100 people tested – has increased from 20% on May 1 to 33% on May 11.

The civic body said that it will disinfect the wing or floors of the Covid-19 patient’s residence once the area is sealed. It will then hand over the area to the housing society’s office bearers, and they have to further ensure that containment zone rules are followed on the floor or wing.

BMC added that a positive symptomatic patient can be shifted to a Dedicated Covid Health Centre or Dedicated Covid Hospital, private or public facility according to the beds available and affordability of the patient. It said that positive asymptomatic patients can be quarantined at home according to the government’s guidelines. However, this is possible only if adequate facilities are available at home, along with a self-declaration from the patient.

“Sealing of building or floor may be read as: decision is as per local situation and area of building/society complex involved, number of cases, etc,” BMC’s Deputy Executive Health Officer Daksha Shah said, according to The Indian Express.

An unidentified BMC official told The Times of India: “A low-rise building with only single staircase has to be fully locked down, but high-rise buildings would need lock down of floors rather than the entire building. Application of mind is expected.”

The BMC’s circular stated that no maids, vendors or service providers would be allowed to enter the building premises. The societies have to tie up with local vendors, medical stores and online delivery portals to deliver supplies at the society’s boundaries. The chairperson of the building also has to ensure that essential supplies are delivered to asymptomatic patients under home quarantine.

The circular also reminded societies to not discriminate or stigmatise patients who are quarantined, and told residents who are medical professionals to sensitise other members.

On Sunday, the Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association had said that it was now mandatory for all the cooperative housing societies in Mumbai’s Zone 5 to screen its residents for the coronavirus.

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