To shield unaffected people from poorer socio-economic background such as slums where social distancing is difficult to follow once cases start appearing, the Greater Chennai Corporation is identifying buildings across the city to create facilitation centres to house them.
According to the circular, the facilitation centres would be different from COVID care centres, in the sense that they would accommodate the people from particular streets or locations where new cases are being reported.
The roadside dwellers would also be relocated to the facilitation centres in which the necessary facilities for accommodation, food, healthcare and others would be provided.
Anticipating more numbers of the cases from the severely hit zones like Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, Anna Nagar, Teynampet, Kodambakkam, Valasaravakkam and Adyar, the civic body will identify spaces for 3,000 beds in each ward. The zonal officials of other zones have to identify spaces for 1,500 beds. In total, spaces for 34,500 beds will be identified.
The civic body chief also empowered the zonal officers to deploy manpower from private firms for cleaning and conservancy related operations at the facilitation centres.
The civic body had already created institutional quarantine centres and COVID care centres. While the quarantine centres are being used to isolate persons returning from other states and foreign countries, COVID care centres are being used to treat asymptomatic patients. Facilitation centres will be different from these centres, as people who are infected and hailing from a particular cluster would be housed in order to break the chain.
Presently, there are 17 institutional quarantine centres with a total bed capacity of 2,287, and 45 COVID care centres with 9,429 beds.
Apart from these, there are 12 free quarantine centres with 3,216 beds and 14 paid quarantine centres (hotels) with 631 beds for returnees. Returnees can choose free or paid quarantine centres where they have to stay for seven days.
A field-level official said that the spaces were being identified and senior officials were conducting inspections. "The Commissioner inspected facilities identified in Valasaravakkam, Adyar, Teynampet and Kodambakkam zones on Thursday," he added.