Residents’ welfare associations of multi-storeyed apartments and gated communities in Madurai city are taking various safety precautions, in the wake of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
N. Sathish Babu, secretary of Pryme Neo Flat Owners’ Association at Surveyor Colony, says that people are allowed inside their apartments only after their body temperature is checked through thermal scanners. A foot-operated sanitiser dispenser has also been placed at the entrance of the apartments. “Since it is important to avoid physical contact, we have asked all milk suppliers, newspaper delivery persons and food delivery persons to deliver the products at the entrance of the premises. All residents will then have to collect their products by following safety precautions,” he said.
M. Balaguru, secretary of Shanthi Sadan Owners’ Welfare Association at Kochadai, which has around 550 houses, says that their association has formed a separate team of volunteers to buy and deliver products at the doorsteps of the elderly, who are a vulnerable population. “We also urge residents to avoid travelling unnecessarily. Even if they travel, we ask them to wear face masks, maintain personal distance and wash their hands frequently,” he says.
The members of the associations say they regularly disinfect their premises, including lifts and staircases. Temporary vegetable and grocery shops are also set up inside their premises.
“When any positive case is reported, the surrounding area is disinfected frequently. We also ensure that all contacts are tested and remain under home isolation,” says Perrys Mahendra Vel, president of the association at Visthara Residential Enclave at Vilangudi, which has around 750 houses. He says that residents are asked to avoid allowing outsiders to enter the apartments. “If people from other districts and States enter the premises, we immediately inform the Madurai Corporation officials, so that they can be screened. We also recommend them to home quarantine themselves,” he adds.
Despite repeated awareness, there are many who do not wear face masks and do not maintain physical distancing when they are outside, says Mr. Balaguru. “One of the main challenges is that residents do not segregate their household waste. Many dump used face masks along with other waste,” he adds.