To curb the spread of Coronavirus, the BMC is tying up with various resident’s associations for conducting mass testing drives in some of the posh Covid-19 hotspots of Mumbai — Bandra, Juhu, Versova, Matunga and Mahim. These areas have high growth rate and also is home to some of the affluent residents of Mumbai. Many residents have approached BMC to organise test camps in their neighbourhoods.
On Wednesday, BMC is going to initiate a major testing drive at Pali Hill, Bandra. The BMC officials aims to test 2,500-3,000 Mumbaikars from approximately 75 residential buildings and bungalows for free. Madhu Poplai, general secretary of the Pali Hill Resident’s Association (PHRA) said that association requested local BMC officials to conduct a test drive in her area.
“The cases in our area has surged rapidly in last one month. We decided that arranging a testing drive will not only raise awareness, but also help us in tracing positive patients at an earlier stage,” Poplai said. She added that target population has decreased by a significant margin as most of the residents are senior citizens, who have already got both the doses of vaccines. “The BMC will be testing only the residents who have not taken the vaccine yet or have received only one dose,” said Poplai.
Senior civic officials said that they started to work jointly with Advanced Locality Management (ALM) groups and independent citizen’s associations to ramp up the testing. “We have roped in number of NGOs and have also asked our ward officers to work jointly with citizen’s and public representatives to test maximum people at a given time,” said Suresh Kakani, BMC additional commissioner and in-charge of public health in BMC.
A BMC official said that unlike slums, it is difficult to conduct a mass testing drive in housing societies unless the residents and civic officials are on the same page. “Housing societies have their own rules and protocols. We just can’t enter their premises and start testing. It is good that they are approaching us,” said the official.
Asif Zakaria, Congress corporator from Bandra (West) said that the BMC is conducting tests aggressively in his area. “More than 95 percent of the fresh infections are being reported from buildings. Citizens need to come forward and get tested,” said Zakaria.