The second wave has seen a very high number of COVID-19 cases being reported. According to the latest bulletin released by Telangana, the state has reported 8061 cases as of 8 pm on April 27. Out of the total, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits has reported 1508 cases. Though the number of cases is rising, the state has not declared a lockdown as yet. Presently, a night curfew has been imposed in the state from 9 pm to 5 am.
Like last year during the first wave, residentsâ€™ welfare associations across the city are imposing strict rules and restrictions for the residents. TNM reached out to several communities and complexes and found out that most gated communities and complexes have shut down swimming pools, clubhouses and are again back to restricting domestic workers, e-commerce employees, and other delivery executives. Some apartments have also restricted the movement of residents.
On April 26, the Cyberabad police issued instructions to gated communities in the Cyberabad jurisdiction about measures to be taken to check the spread of COVID-19. From monitoring entry and exit of domestic workers to closing of places where the public are likely to gather, the circular has a slew of advisories.
Strict restrictions and criticism
My Home Jewel, a residential project located in Madinaguda, had been in the news recently for more than 100 positive cases reported from the community. The residential project has more than 2000 apartments. As per a circular by the association released on April 25, the residential community has reported more than 130 positive cases of COVID-19. The residential communityâ€™s association decided to extend the strict restrictions in place for another week, until midnight of May 2.
However, on April 21, more than 100 residents wrote to the association about their objection to the strict restrictions in place. Their letter read, â€śWe, the undersigned residents, owners, and tenants of My Home Jewel would like to place on record our rejection of the unfair and unnecessary restrictions placed on us by the Management Committee. These curbs have a direct and significant impact on our physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being.â€ť
One of the residents who signed the objection letter, who wished to remain anonymous, told TNM, â€śAs we all work from home, stopping domestic help severely affects our ability to work. Many of us have health issues that require us to walk every day. Ever since society put restrictions on walking within the campus, we are going out to find parks outside to walk in, increasing our chances of exposure. There are single parents who have been banned from getting their child care helpers, elderly folks with limited mobility who have been denied access to their domestic help.â€ť
Though the residents objected, in the circular that was released on April 25, the association refused to give in to the objections. The circular read, â€śWhile most of the residents appreciated the measures taken and adjusted, we also had requests, concerns, and criticism from few residents to remove the restrictions. We request residents to understand that we are in an extraordinary situation, where lives are at risk if the spread is not contained immediately. These restrictions are very essential to bring down the number of cases.â€ť
Hallmark Express Towers, a residential community-based in Whitefield has around 90 flats in total. Speaking to TNM, Dora Sam, an association member said, â€śThe association has been following several restrictions keeping in mind the safety of the residents. Apart from the usual advisories and guidelines issued, the association is also carrying out regular sanitisation of the building premises. We have not imposed any lockdown or rules, we have only issued advisories for the safety of all the residents. The association has also ordered an oxygen concentrator for the benefit of residents who may need oxygen during an emergency. Door delivery of groceries, food, etc is allowed for those in quarantine.â€ť
Partial lockdown announced
Bhanu Township, located in Miyapur, has 600 flats and villas. In the last one month, nearly 20 cases have been reported. The townshipâ€™s association popularly known as Bhanu Township Owners Welfare Association (BTOWA) imposed a partial lockdown within the gated community from April 25. A slew of restrictions which include restriction of maids, e-commerce delivery, visitors and also movement restrictions, etc., were announced by the association.
Speaking to TNM, Bably Sinha, Senior Association Member of Bhanu Township said, â€śPeople are understanding the restrictions that are being laid down and are supporting it wholeheartedly. They understand that the efforts being taken by the association are for the safety of all the residents. It was important to come up with containment measures. 99% of the residents are in support of the restrictions in place.â€ť
â€śWe are cooperating with all those who are testing positive. We are extending to all those in home isolation whatever help they require. Members in the community are providing food, offering to take to the hospital and extending any help whatever is required by them,â€ť the association member added.
Residentsâ€™ associations rising up to the situation
BT Srinivas, General Secretary of United Federation of Residents Welfare Associations (U-FERWAS), felt welfare associations across the city are stepping up to ensure the chain of spread is broken. He said, â€śMajority of people have understood the gravity of the situation and are following COVID-19 protocols and restrictions in their respective communities. Several apartments are having a roll-call procedure in place wherein they are calling up flat residents and are asking if everyone in the apartment is alright and they are also taking the initiative to get them tested and also treated. All the help needed is being extended to the residents by associations.â€ť
When asked if declaring a lockdown would help communities and townships check the spread in a better way, BT Srinivas said, â€śMost of the people, at least 60% of the people are ready to welcome the lockdown. If people restrict movement, then the cases will come down. Associations are not stopping people from going to work. The restrictions are only for others visiting the apartments. When people are not restricting themselves, associations have to step up to ensure the chain is broken and this is for everyoneâ€™s benefit.â€ť