As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India rose to 28 on Wednesday, Mumbai remained on the edge, with preparations under way to tackle the infection if it reaches the city.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it has enough personal protective equipment, N-95 masks and isolation beds. Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said besides Kasturba Hospital, the main isolation centre in Mumbai, four other hospitals — HBT Trauma Care in Jogeshwari, Bhabha in Bandra and Kurla, and Rajawadi in Ghatkopar — have been identified to set up isolation facilities with 20-25 beds.
“Kasturba Hospital has 28 beds, but we can add another 100 if the need arises. We also have State-run hospitals as a back-up,” Mr. Kakani said. He has also requested private facilities like Jaslok and HN Reliance hospitals to be ready. The BMC has called a meeting with private hospitals on Thursday.
Kasturba Hospital currently has 4,900 articles of personal protective equipment, which include protective clothing and face shields, and 3,000 N-95 masks. “We have authorised the medical superintendent to make local purchases if needed and have also issued a tender for long-term purchases,” he said.
In case the facilities have to operate at full capacity, they have stocks that would last for 10 days, he said. Staff training programmes will also be undertaken.
State epidemiologist Dr. Pradip Awate said 161 of the 167 samples sent for testing from Maharashtra have been found to be negative. While six reports are awaited, seven patients in Mumbai and one each in Nashik and Nanded remain in isolation.
At Mumbai airport, 1,365 passengers from 12 countries, including Iran, Italy, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, have been screened. Officials said they will now screen all travellers.
Meanwhile, the railway board has issued a directive to zonal railways on precautions to be taken, including disseminating information and preparing isolation facilities at railway hospitals.