COVID-19: Maha govt to tag people under self-quarantine

Coronavirus: Maharashtra govt to tag people under self-quarantine

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (PTI File Photo)

In an unprecedented step in the larger public interest to control the spread of coronavirus pandemic, the Maharashtra government on Monday decided to tag people who are under 100% home-quarantine.

In Maharashtra, so far, there are 39 COVID-19 positive cases, which is nearly one-third in India.

The government would put a "stamp" on the left hand of the person who is 100% self-quarantined so that they can be easily identified.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray,  during which he spoke to divisional commissioners and district collectors, and reviewed the situation.

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According to Thackeray,  there is no reason to panic but to take precautions. "Basic precautions are needed....not to spit in public,  maintain personal and public hygiene," Thackeray told reporters at Varsha,  the state secretariat here.

"The decision to tag people under home quarantine is in larger public interest...basically it would mention that the person has been quarantined till 31 March," state health minister Rajesh Tope said,  adding that it would be something like indelible ink.

Thackeray also announced a special Rs 45 crore fund to tackle the pandemic and ordered all district collectors and health authorities to take stringent steps to prevent crowding.

The divisional commissioners at Konkan and Pune will be given Rs 15 crore and Rs.10 crore respectively, while Rs 5 crore has been allotted the four remaining divisions of Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nashik.

The money would be utilized to provide various facilities at the quarantine centres including food, television sets, indoor games like carom.

In Mumbai alone,  more than 500 persons are in self-quarantine. Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, from Tuesday, the general public will not be allowed in Mantralaya, the state secretariat and Raj Bhavan. 

The government deferred the local bodies polls by three months in consultation with the State Election Commission.

Besides,  those who have been advised 100 per cent home quarantine,  a seal would be put in their hand so that they can be easily identified. While last week,  the state government decided to shut down schools and colleges in urban areas,  the same has been extended to rural areas. The four new cases include three from Mumbai and one form the satellite township of Navi Mumbai. 

In the tally of 39, Pune accounts for 16,  Mumbai 8,  Nagpur 4, Navi Mumbai-Raigad district 4, Yavatmal 3, Thane city and Kalyan 2,  Ahmednagar and Aurangabad, one each. 

Meanwhile, the samples of a suspect patient who died in Buldhana last week turned out to be negative. 

In Mumbai, more than 500 persons are under home-quarantine.

In a related development,  the government decided to shut down public entry to the Sanjay  Gandhi National Park and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary till 31 March.

The amusement parks like Imagica,  Esselworld have been closed. Darshans would not be allowed in Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai and Tuljabhawani in Osmanabad.

There was a big rush in stores like DMart, Big Bazaar, Hypercity and Sahakari Bhandar.

As a precautionary measure,  all gatherings - political and religious - will not be allowed.

“It is not a crime if somebody is infected by Covid-19. They must be given proper medical treatment and psychological support. The Epidemic Diseases Act has been invoked in the interest of the people and the district administration must create awareness on it,” Thackeray said.

In addition to the seven countries announced by the centre - China,  Iran, Italy, South Korea, France,  Spain and Germany, the state government has included USA, Dubai and Saudi Arabia and all passengers coming from these shall have to undergo compulsory quarantine.