Institutional quarantine likely in Mumbai for passengers from high-risk nations

Passengers arriving from the twelve “at risk” countries may have to undergo seven days institutional quarantine in Mumbai. The central government health guidelines which come into effect from Tuesday midnight require passengers from such countries to take an on-arrival Coronavirus (Covid-19) test. But there is no institutional quarantine requirement for passengers testing negative under the central guidelines.

Maharashtra, however, may once again introduce institutional quarantine for all arrivals. The issue was discussed at a review meeting called by BMC commissioner I S Chahal on Saturday and it was decided that passengers arriving from countries at risk shall be subject to a compulsory quarantine for seven days. Business Standard has seen the minutes of the meeting.

However, till Tuesday noon no order was issued by the BMC or the state government on quarantine even as airline and airport officials made anxious calls for a clarity on regulations.

“Institutional quarantine being contemplated,” a senior government official said. A senior civic official said there was a discussion on the issue of quarantine and directed the query to the municipal health department. Health officials did not immediately respond to a query on the topic.

Saturday’s meeting to review the preparedness of the city was attended by officials of municipal health department, doctors, members of Covid-19 task force and representatives from airport among others.

Various issues were discussed in the meeting such as surveillance of passengers, cost of RT-PCR test, testing capacity at airport, quarantine, ward war rooms, track and trace of passengers and genome sequencing of samples testing positive for Covid-19.

Officials discussed enlisting of hotels for institutional quarantine in various categories. Covid-19 testing guidelines for passengers too were discussed. It was also decided that Richardson & Cruddas jumbo centre in Mulund in East Mumbai shall be operationalized for those who do not opt for paid quarantine.

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