Mumbai readies for night curbs; quarantine for air passengers

As the Maharashtra government onMonday declared a night curfew in municipal corporation areas,the Mumbai civic administration moved to enforce restrictionsand make arrangements to quarantine air passengers arrivingfrom Britain, where a new COVID-19 variant is spreading fast,and some other countries.

The state government has declared a night curfew inmunicipal corporation areas (cities) from December 22 toJanuary 5 as a precautionary measure amid growing concernsover the new coronavirus variant spreading in Britain.

As per the state government directive, a curfewbetween 11 pm and 6 am will be enforced in the financialcapital till January 5, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) commissioner I S Chahal said at a press conference.

Chahal said essential services like vegetable and milksupply will remain unaffected during the night curfew but morethan five people can not assemble at a place during the seven-hour-long period.


“Night curfew was enforced in the city from March(when lockdown was announced) to August as well. Night curfewis not a lockdown. There is a difference between a nightcurfew and a lockdown.

“In lockdown, individuals cannot step out of theirhomes. In a curfew, more than five people cannot assembleoutside during the specified hours,” he said.

The IAS officer said the government decision will putrestrictions on Christmas and New Year celebrations in themetropolis which usually sees large gatherings and mingling ofpeople on December 31 night.

People were found violating COVID-19-related norms atpubs, night clubs and restaurants during recent raids, thecivic chief said, adding that November-December is also awedding season and there were complaints about 700 to 800guests gathering at several marriages in violation of norms.

“We are taking these steps as this is not a normal NewYear eve. We cannot celebrate as in the past,” he said, addingthe authorities will take action against those found violatingrules framed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

As per the state government estimates, around 1,000passengers are expected to arrive at the city airport by fiveflights from the UK till December 22 midnight, he said.

“Of the five, two flights will land tonight (Dec 21),other two tomorrow morning (Dec 22) and one more on tomorrownight.

“Every passenger arriving in the five flights will becompulsorily quarantined. No passenger will be allowed to gohome directly from the airport,” Chahal said.

Chahal said all of them will be compulsorily kept atinstitutional quarantine facilities, even if they do not haveany COVID-19 symptoms, for seven days.

They will be discharged if their RT-PCR tests, to beconducted on the 5th or 7th day of their quarantine period,came negative, the BMC chief said.

Passengers showing COVID-19-like symptoms will beadmitted at the BMC-run Seven Hills Hospital at suburban Marolwhere 100 beds are reserved for them, he said.

Similarly, passengers landing in the city from WestAsia and other European countries, excluding the UK, fromDecember 23 morningwill be compulsorily quarantined for sevendays, Chahal said.

Passengers with COVID-19-like symptoms will be sent tostate-run GT Hospital, he said.

“We dont want to mix them with Seven Hills Hospitalpatients. Hence, the entire GT Hospital has been earmarkedfor such symptomatic patients,” the city civic chief said.

Air passengers hailing from Pune, Nagpur and otherparts of the state will also wont be allowed to go home andthey will have to stay in institutional quarantine even ifthey do not show any COVID-19 symptoms, he said.

Chahal said passengers arriving from the USA, SouthAsia and other countries will be stamped on their hands andput in home quarantine after undergoing RT-PCR tests at theairport.

He said the civic body will give PPE kits to allimmigration staff at the airport and the BMC has reserved2,000 hotel rooms, including 1,000 in budget category, toquarantine passengers arriving in the city.

According to Chahal, between February 1 and March 22,around 2 lakh people landed at the Mumbai airport and some ofthem were COVID-19 carriers who spread the infection in Mumbaiand parts of Maharashtra.

Hence, to avoid repetition of the past, theseprecautions are being taken, he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)