As the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the metropolitan satellite township of Navi Mumbai reach 348 at the last count, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) appears to be preparing itself for the future healthcare eventualities on account of the virus spread. In a crucial decision on Tuesday, the NMMC approved a proposal for utilising the landmark CIDCO Exhibition and Convention Centre at Vashi as a COVID care facility. NMMC Commissioner Annasaheb Misal told Mirror Online that the massive exhibition centre would be used as a centre for treating COVID patients. “As per plans, the centre would be converted into a 1,000 to 1,200 bed facility for the treatment and care of COVID-19 patients,” Misal said. The proposal was approved during a crucial meeting held on Tuesday morning. As on Tuesday, Navi Mumbai witnessed 6 deaths on account of the virus infection, even as 75 places have been declared as containment zones.
Misal said as it is not feasible to close down the APMC market at Vashi, the civic body had undertaken a massive drive to screen the workers employed at the wholesale markets for coronavirus infection. He said a team of 20 doctors have already screened around 4,065 workers at the market while the process of screening the traders will begin soon. The wholesale market, split into 5 divisions (from grains to vegetables) is spread over an area of 200 acres and is considered to be the most crucial vegetable/fruit and essential delivery point for Mumbai and Thane. It is believed that the continuous transit of traders from different red zones in Mumbai and Thane to the market had resulted in the spread of the virus in Navi Mumbai. Meanwhile, Misal sought to clarify that his appeal to people engaged in essential duties in Mumbai to avoid their retun journey to Navi Mumbai was misinterpreted as an order. “It was a request and not an order,” he said. In a video message recorded on Sunday, Misal had explained how Navi Mumbai was at risk when people engaged in essential services come back home. It was based on the findings that 90 per cent of those tested positive in Navi Mumbai had a regular travel history to Mumbai.He had said that the BMC (or concerned agencies) should make the required boarding arrangements for these employees during the lockdown. Alcohol shops in Navi Mumbai area were not given permission to open on Monday as the entire municipal area fell under the Red Zone.