Mumbai scales up testing facilities to fight COVID-19

Mumbai scales up testing facilities to fight coronavirus

Security personnel wear masks to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, outside a special isolation ward at Kasturba Hospital, in Mumbai, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (PTI Photo)

Testing facilities in India's commercial capital of Mumbai for detection of COVID-19 infection is being ramped up significantly.

In Mumbai, there are five coronavirus positive patients who are undergoing treatment at Kasturba Hospital quarantine facility.

More than 500 persons across the city are under self-quarantine,  according to the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

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"Testing capacity is up to 200 tests a day but we are actively pushing for an increase by seeking permission from different hospitals to set up testing centres. We are also trying to expand testing facilities to private hospitals," Mumbai's municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi said.

According to Pardeshi, social-distancing is the key to containing the outbreak. 

A lock-down has been enforced to prevent large gatherings by closing down schools, colleges, theatres, malls, swimming pools, and gyms.

"Although colleges and schools have been closed for daily lectures, scheduled exams will proceed. School officials are instructed to send back any student who shows symptoms such as dry cough, runny nose and breathlessness," Pardeshi told social media platform 'Humans of Bombay'.

According to him, students may also be excused from attending the exam, provided that they submit a medical certificate that states they have cold, cough or fever.

Advocating work-from-home policy,  he said: "We highly advise companies to initiate work-from-home policies wherever possible. If necessary, we will make this mandatory in the days to come."

Last week, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had appealed the private sector to allow employees work-from-home, wherever possible.

Pardeshi said "For passengers from high-risk countries, quarantine norms will be applicable for those showing symptoms. Those without symptoms will mandatorily be home-quarantined for 14 days with follow-up calls to ensure they are not carriers," he said.

Local transportation will continue to run to allow travel for essential needs such as going to hospitals and public utility services. "But one should avoid travel for any non-essential activities such as attending social events," he added.

He said the key is to practice good personal hygiene--wash your hands, sanitise, use tissues and stay home if you are feeling unwell so that you do not spread the infection.

"Be rest assured that we are doing everything possible to control the situation. I would urge you all to share only verified facts, keep your hygiene levels up and stay calm. We will get through this together," he added.

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