Mumbai railway stations see crowding as BMC begins Covid-19 screening
Crowding was witnessed at railway stations, with little regard for social distancing, as the civic body from Wednesday began screening travellers for Covid-19 at six railway stations.
As images from Bandra Terminus went viral, the Western Railway (WR) issued a statement on Wednesday evening, stating the crowding was a result of flouting of the prescribed standard operating procedures (SOP) by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). “Initially, the authorities of BMC started conducting 100 % Rapid Antigen tests of all passengers which was not as per SOP issued by BMC. It resulted in mass assembly of passengers in the subway,” stated the WR statement. “It was brought to their notice by Railway Authorities that as per the SOP according to BMC Circular, passengers without symptoms would be allowed to go home while passengers who displayed symptoms shall be segregated & made to undergo Rapid Antigen test. Later on, the BMC started following the provisions of SOP regarding asymptomatic passengers which also eased the situation. Also, initially two testing booths were set up by BMC. On request of Railway Authorities the number of booths was increased to six to speed up the testing.”
At the time of going to press, BMC had not commented on the statement issued by WR on the crowding
The BMC screened 9,779 passengers at six railway stations – Borivli, Dadar, Bandra Terminus, CST, Mumbai Central and Kurla terminus – using rapid antigen kits and found 10 positive cases. The decision to screen passengers was taken after the state government made it compulsory to test citizens arriving from four states – Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa - at airports and railway stations, including at land borders.
The highest number of passengers – 3,400 – was screened at Mumbai Central, but no cases were detected, followed by second highest (2,046) at Bandra terminus, where five cases were detected. Further, 2,000 passengers were screened at Dadar, in which one positive case was detected; 1,079 passengers were screened at CSMT (0 cases detected.) Lastly, at Borivli, 918 passengers were screened and one person was found positive, followed by 315 screened at Kurla Terminus, in which three tested positive.
As per guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government, passengers have to produce a negative RT-PCR report even on landing at airports in Maharashtra. The test should have been done 72 hours prior to the scheduled journey. According to BMC officials, incoming passengers from the four states were screened at the city airport. However, only those passengers not carrying negative reports were made to undergo RT-PCR tests, for which the data will be available by Thursday.
Meanwhile, those travelling by roads to Maharashtra, too, will have to undergo screening at the borders check posts. People with symptoms will have to undergo antigen test. If found positive, travellers will be admitted to Covid centres and would have to bear the treatment cost.