A volunteer uses temperature gun to screen vendors at I C Colony, Borivli
MUMBAI: Screening of vegetable and fruit vendors, and grocery and medical staff for their body temperatures is fast becoming the new normal in the city, since Covid-19 cases have been rising among those who shop for essentials.
At a civic park in Borivli’s I C Colony where fruit, vegetable and fish vendors have been shifted to ensure social distancing, all are screened, including customers.
Shiv Sena member Abhishek Ghosalkar from the area said they came up with the plan after a number of patients reported they had only stepped out to buy essentials and had got infected.
“On discussing with the authorities, we realized the patients might have got infected while buying essentials and therefore we decided that volunteers would be given non-contact digital temperature guns to screen those entering the park,” he said.
In Andheri, too, where the number of patients from highrises is currently on the rise, MLA Ameet Satam said he has suggested the local K-West Ward officials screen fruit and vegetable vendors as well as grocery and medical store staff. “All fruit and vegetable vendors on footpaths and grocery and provision store staff should be screened. In several cases, these are the only people that persons who are still following the lockdown conditions come in contact with,” he said.
In South Mumbai’s Colaba, too, corporator Makrand Narwekar said he has witnessed a similar trend. He took the example of a 50-year-old patient who had not stepped out of his home at all during the lockdown and would only receive groceries and vegetables at his doorstep. “The only source of infection in such a case appears to have been from the goods that arrived at his residence. Besides, I have been receiving complaints from locals about zero social distancing maintained by fisherfolk at Sassoon Docks. Locals are extremely worried about an outbreak in their area because of the crowds that gather. Therefore, screening of vendors in every locality should be considered by the authorities,” he said.
In Goregaon, local corporator Sandeep Patel said since June, if a ward reports an average of 30 cases daily, then 25 are from highrises and five are from the slums.
“The trend has completed reversed now and we are noticing the number of cases coming from slum pockets is fewer than buildings. Those in highrises have hardly stepped out during the lockdown. Screening of vendors to find from where they get their supply of groceries, vegetables and fruits would ensure any potential carrier is immediately isolated. The BMC should not leave any opportunity to trace them,” said Patel.