The civic body has decided to test people at crowded places like shopping malls, markets, bus stands and railway stations to curb the spread of coronavirus. If the citizens refuse to get tested, they would be booked under the Epidemic Act, BMC said.

“RAT will be carried out without consent of citizens who are present at these crowded places. If the citizens refuse to test, it would amount to an offence under Epidemic Act,” the civic body said in a statement.

However, the cost of the test at malls will have to go from the visitors’ wallets.

“Cost incurred for carrying out Rapid Antigen Test at malls shall be borne by the concerned visitor entering the mall,” said the BMC.

At rest of the crowded places, the cost will be borne by the civic body.

On Friday, the BMC had also announced that it will make Rapid Antigen Test facilities to take samples for Covid-19 testing compulsory for all malls in the city from 22 March.

The move comes in the backdrop of Mumbai reporting the highest spike of 3,062 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, taking its caseload to 3,55,897. With 10 deaths since Thursday evening, the death toll increased to 11,565.

The recovery rate in the city is 91% while the average growth rate of Covid-19 cases has increased to 0.56% from 0.17% a month ago. The average doubling rate of Covid-19 cases went down to 124 days from 417 days.

Currently, the city has 34 containment zones in slums and chawls and 305 sealed buildings where Covid-19 cases have been found.

Dharavi, the biggest slum in Mumbai, has reported 272 coronavirus cases so far in the month of March as against the entire February’s infection count of 168, a rise of 62%, civic officials said on Saturday.

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