In a significant development, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has ordered the immediate reopening of private clinics in Mumbai. Penning a letter to all private practitioners on April 23, the BMC Executive Health Officer stated that many non-COVID patients were facing difficulty in accessing medical help after the emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Stressing that medical services were essential services under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, the BMC called upon the private clinics to provide medical assistance to patients while following specific guidelines.
First, private clinics can screen patients and refer the suspected cases of COVID-19 to Fever Clinics. All non-COVID patients, especially with diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension etc., shall continue to receive treatment. Medical advice can be obtained via the telemedicine facility.
Moreover, private practitioners must implement precautionary measures such as the mandatory wearing of masks, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette while treating the patients. Moreover, it assured the doctors that any hindrance in reopening their clinics or harassment is punishable under the Epidemic Disease Amendment Ordinance 2020. As per the official figures released on Friday, Mumbai has recorded 4589 cases and 179 deaths emerging as a major hotspot in Maharashtra.
Earlier in the day, sources in the Maharashtra government informed Republic TV that there was no possibility of lifting the lockdown in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and the Pune Metropolitan Region after May 3, when the national lockdown is set to end. As per these sources, such regions in the state shall continue to remain under lockdown due to the increasing number of cases. It is likely that the current restrictions will remain in place at least till June.
Currently, there are 6,817 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Maharashtra out of which 840 persons have recovered while 301 casualties have been reported. Meanwhile, the Centre has approved of 'convalescent plasma therapy' and 'pool testing' in the state. Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh confirmed that the plasma therapy will be used on COVID-19 patients in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Solapur.
The #PlasmaTherapy on the Maharashtra Covid19 patients to soon begin at Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Solapur in the institutes run by #MinistryofMedicalEducation #GovtofMaharashtra @CMOMaharashtra @AjitPawarSpeaks @bb_thorat @AUThackeray @yadravkar @DrSanMukherjee @Maha_MEDD @MahaDGIPR— Amit V. Deshmukh (@AmitV_Deshmukh) April 24, 2020