According to sources, the necessity to form such panels arose after complaints poured into police stations and KMC borough offices that a section of Covid-positive patients and their relatives were flouting isolation norms and moving about freely.
Often, cops find it difficult to check whether a Covid patient is staying in home isolation or in a hospital and the KMC ward coordinator is also unable to keep track of every patient. Though standalone buildings with Covid patients get identified by immediate neighbours, it is difficult to check which house in a gated complex may have a patient.
“This gap between the cops and the coordinators often leads to confusion in the Covid-response team that puts a check on free movement of a Covid patient and his/her contacts during isolation at home,” said a KMC health department official.
Now the updated list of patients will be shared among cops and the civic team, and, if required, field visits will be carried out.
Police sources said there were several reasons why this coordination is necessary. “In a recent incident, cops from Phoolbagan ended up going to a house to investigate an unnatural death of a senior citizen. There, they realized that at least three other members were Covid-positive, even though they themselves had no knowledge of it. Similarly, a woman from an isolation home at Maniktala continued to visit her office and another woman ended up at South Port police station to lodge a complaint even though her family had two Covid patients,” a source said.
A section of ward coordinators and cops have been locally tying up to keep tabs on errant Covid patients and their relatives. “I have formed a team which has been keeping an eye on Covid patients in home isolation and their contacts,” said Bappaditya Dasgupta a KMC ward coordinator.
KMC sources said there was also need to be transparent about the isolation policy amidst claims that people were being forced into them. The KMC admitted that people who test positive are being made to sign isolation bonds, but says they have the choice to opt for institutional isolation centres if they wish to.