In its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Mumbai administration has introduced an innovative tech-enabled initiative under its “Mission Zero”. The Brihan mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now deploying “smart helmets” in more populous localities of Mumbai to facilitate the early detection of COVID-19 cases.

How do the smart helmets for COVID-19 work?

The smart helmets being deployed in the Indian metropolis are specifically designed to screen human temperatures. BMC officials have said that the helmet contains a thermal sensor which is linked to a smartwatch. Thus, whenever it is used to screen a person, the recorded temperature is displayed on the linked smartwatch. Notably, a single helmet can reportedly screen about 200 people in a minute.

As per the news reports, BMC officials have said that currently two smart helmets are being used in the P North slums of Malad and the R North slums of Dahisar in the city. The reports have added that the BMC officials have already screened nearly 1300 people using the helmet in one of the most densely populated areas in the city, GanpatPatil Nagar in Dahisar.

AbhishekGhoslakar, Shiv SenaCorporator from Dahisar has said that the helmet is effective as it can screen a large number of people in a short period. He noted that thermal screening of people in densely populated slums of the city has been a challenging task. Therefore, these smart helmets can help the city bodies to cover more people.

Furthermore, another medical health officer in the locality shared the helmets are to be used for effective mass screenings. The smart helmets have been deployed as a part of the government’s larger Mission Zeroinitiative. Mission Zero aims to containthe COVID-19 spread in the western suburbs of the city.

Whenever one of the healthcare staff goes into a locality, accompanying team announces on the mic informing individuals residing in the locality to step out and get their thermal screenings done. Moreover, whenever a person is found to have a high temperature, the individual is isolated and later tested for the COVID infection.

BMC is now likely to deploy it in other slum areas such as Santosh Nagar and KokaniPada. On the overall, the two helmets have helped officials to screen more than 10,000 people in the city’s slums. 

NDTV also quoted a medical volunteer saying, “Traditional screening methods take a lot of time. You go to a slum with 20,000 people and it takes you three hours to screen 300 people.But when you use these helmets, all you have to do is ask people to come out of their homes, face them and you can screen 6,000 people in two-and-a-half hours.”

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Similar smart and portable thermo-scanners have also been used earlier in Italy, China and Dubai. It has been reported that theBhartiya Jain Sangathna had donated the two helmets to BMC on Wednesday.The newly introduced smart helmets are expected to help the state government and local administration in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Mumbai.

However, the capacity of just two helmets will likely find it difficult to cover the vast population of 18 million in the city.Moreover, the imported smart helmets are reported to cost around Rs 6,00,000. Thus, with an already high demand in other countries, it would be difficult for the city officials to expand their screening capacity.

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