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“Exposed to a cocktail of pathogens”: IIT professor slams BMC for poor facilities and hygiene at a quarantine centre

Amit Sethi, a Professor at IIT Bombay, was forced to continue his quarantine despite his mild COVID symptoms subsiding. He was reportedly not given an option to either stay in home quarantine or be shifted to a better facility.

Revealing how bad an institutional quarantine experience can be, IIT Professor from Mumbai on Monday shared some disturbing visuals of the Jumbo COVID Care Centre in NESCO, Goregaon. IIT faculty member, Amit Sethi who had been forcibly confined by the BMC to opt for an institutional quarantine, said that he had to go through the prisoner like experience.

In a series of tweets, he states that there were many complaints lodged against the BMC for maintaining no hygiene and providing poor facilities to patients who have been isolated at the COVID care centre run by the corporation. “I am a guest/prisoner of the BMC for the next few days. Exposed to a cocktail of pathogens”, he said posting a few images of unclean toilets, stray dogs roaming and excreating openly in the corridors of the Centre.

Sethi also said that the patients are not able to sleep with heavy bright lights kept on in the ward even at the night. “The area has no way for sun or fresh air to come in and help people recover faster. No sense of day or night. It has dogs running around and pooping in corridors. Its public toilets are filthy with malfunction and squalor”, he added also attaching images of human excreta on the floor.

Taking cognizance of the report, the BMC today shifted Sethi to a better facility and thanked him for informing him about the nuisance. The BMC also has ordered the Ward-PS of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to take immediate action in the case.

One of the COVID warriors, Dr Muffi who is a bariatric, laparoscopic robotic surgeon at the Digestive Health Institute, Mumbai, also extended help asking the professor if he is comfortable being shifted to another facility where he will be satisfied with the arrangements. “It’s a pandemic and we are trying our best to help out”, he tweeted.

IIT professors say BMC denied home quarantine

Amit Sethi had been to the United States to see an ailing relative of him on December 27. On his return, on developing a mild fever from COVID, he volunteered to get tested on January 7. Further, he was forcibly confined by the BMC after his mild COVID symptoms subsided and was given no option to stay in home quarantine or pay for a better facility. He was also denied from availing of on-campus isolation in a guest room offered by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. “I was fine with home quarantine. I was taken out of home quarantine”, he noted.

BMC didn’t take my samples for Omicron, reveals Professor

The IIT Professor further revealed that his quarantine period was supposed to end by January 13 but the BMC officials have asked him to stay quarantined for more than seven days. “My home quarantine was supposed to end on Jan 13 as per protocol, but here I have been told that I have to stay for a minimum of seven days, and possibly longer”, he said.

Sethi also has accused the BMC of taking the Omicron variant lightly. “The dates and mild symptoms strongly imply a locally gained Omicron infection. I would have understood if they wanted to collect my sample for sequencing of new variants potentially coming from abroad, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. They aren’t taking my sample for sequencing at all,” he said.

The sufferer noted that the BMC has made no different arrangements for patients with mild and severe COVID symptoms. “All of them are put under the same roof that seems to be like a Faraday cage of a metal warehouse structure”, he added. Though he has been shifted to a better facility, he has called for attention to the COVID care Centre anyhow, on behalf of thousands of patients in there. “Not all can be vocal. This place needs to be cleaned for the most voiceless people it houses”, he said.

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