The prescribed masks are available in the chemist shops. Even the homemade washable mask can be used multiple times after proper washing and disinfecting them, a BMC circular said.

Published: 08th April 2020

MUMBAI: As community transmission of coronavirus has begun in Mumbai, the local civic body – Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) – has issued a circular on Wednesday making three-ply or cloth mask a must if they are venturing out for any purpose in the city.

Mumbai alone has a total of 589 positive patients out of 1078 cases in Maharashtra. The coronavirus cases are on the rise in Worli, Tardeo, Prabhadevi, Lower Parel areas, Peddar Road, Jijamata Nagar, Byculla, Goregaon, Bandra, Andheri east and west, Kurla and Mulund.

The BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi said: “Anyone who want to got to public places such as streets, hospitals, offices and markets either in person or vehicles must wear a three-ply or cloth mask. Besides, no person in office will attend the meetings and gathering without wearing a mask,” said Pardeshi in the circular.

“The prescribed masks are available in the chemist shops. Even the homemade washable mask can be used multiple times after proper washing and disinfecting them,” the circular said.

Pardeshi further said that those who violate the order will be punished under IPC section 188. “The person may be arrested if the mask is not used in public places by eigher a police officer or assistant municipal commissioner. The instructions must be followed scrupulously,” reads the order signed by Pardeshi.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray also appealed the people to wear masks in public places.

Maharashtra government has separately issued an circular making face masks compulsory for government employees in offices in Mumbai’s adjoining areas such as Thane, Navi Mumbai, Ulasnagar, Kalyan and Panvel. The government has already made wearing of masks mandatory in Mantralaya.

Dr Daksha Shah, BMC health officer, said that though the community transmission has started in Mumbai but it is not widespread yet. “The community transmission is confined to some localities only. In fact, we are doing better in comparison with other world cities. We have been testing more people and more coronavirus positive cases are detected here as the population of Mumbai is high. In Dharavi, we have reserved one sports complex for the isolations of suspected patients,” Shah said.

She said that they are identifying low and high-risk areas. “As per the urgency and risk factor, we are sealing these areas and isolating the suspected people. There are 50 health workers and doctors infected by the virus. We do not have a shortage of safety equipment, but many times health workers and doctors get infected while treating the asymptomatic patients,” Dr Shah said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray admitted that there are shortages of PPE equipments. “We have requested for central assistance and are confident of getting early help. Even US has asked for medicine from India. This is the global issue,” Thackeray said.

He appealed to the doctors and nurses retired from the military to apply to serve the people. “If the doctors and nurses are ex-servicemen and do not have the job and they want to work, they can apply to us on [email protected],” Thackeray added.