Maharashtra with maximum Coronavirus cases in India on Monday, said it would “stamp” all those who have been sent to home quarantine amid scare over the pandemic. It has been described as a precautionary measure after 39 cases of COVID-19 were detected in the state and around seven suspected patients escaped from treatment centres in last few days.
“Left hand of those under home quarantine will be stamped to identify them easily”, said Health Minister Rajesh Tope.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a meeting with top officials of the state took the decision.
“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,” said CM Thackeray.
Late on Monday evening, Greater Mumbai’s Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi issued an order to all officials concerned at hospitals and the airport, asking them to ‘stamp’ behind the left palm of those under home quarantine, dates of isolation, with ink that would last for 14 days.
The Mumbai Municipal Commission in a tweet said, “ People who are advised to be Home Quarantined will now Get Inked at the back of the palm. This Badge Of Honour will serve as a constant reminder, for 14 days. For others, gets easy to spot & remind to return home. One worry less! ”
This #BadgeOfHonour will serve as a constant reminder, for 14 days. For others, gets easy to spot & remind to return home. One worry less!#NaToCorona https://t.co/PE1KPOTYgf pic.twitter.com/3VU1hAh9Mm
— माझी Mumbai, आपली BMC (@mybmc) March 16, 2020
Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that a stamp with indelible ink – applied to voters during elections – will be imprinted on the left hand indicating “that person/patient is under compulsory home quarantine” till March 31.
“This will help other people identify them if they break home quarantine and mix among the public during their home isolation period,” he said.
The state government has also made it a punishable offence if any person attempts to evade the compulsory quarantine, or breaks ‘home quarantine’ and would forcibly move such person to a government isolation facility.
Entry to the state government headquarters or the ‘Mantrayala’, a major public hub, shall be banned till March 31, except for those on official duties, days after the Maharashtra Legislature’s Budget Session was curtailed by a week in view of the Coronavirus precautions.
All upcoming local bodies and civic elections have been postponed by three months, the shutdown of academic institutions in urban centres has been extended to cover all educational institutions even in rural areas.
CM Thackeray announced a special Rs 45 crore fund to tackle the pandemic to be distributed among the Divisional Commissioners at Konkan and Pune (Rs 15 crore and Rs 10 crore, respectively), while Rs 5 crore each will be disbursed to Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad and Nashik.
While religious activities can be continued unhindered, there must be absolutely no crowds of devotees at any religious place, the Chief Minister said. He appealed that those who have been advised home quarantine must voluntarily refrain from stepping out in public to prevent any risk to others.
Mumbai’s famous 220-year old Siddhivinayak Temple decided to shut down for an “indefinite period” though its Health Department, which provides medical aid to the needy persons, will function as usual.
Simultaneously, the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST) has ‘advised’ all Saibaba ‘palkis’ (palanquin processions) coming from all over Maharashtra and other parts of the country to defer or cancel their processions for the time being.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) with five more persons testing positive for the novel Coronavirus, the number of infected cases in the has increased to 14 from nine, said a senior official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)on Monday.
(With inputs from agencies)