Thane: In a humanitarian gesture, a mosque in Bhiwandi town of adjoining Thane district has been converted by its administrators into a temporary COVID-19 facility, where oxygen is provided free of cost to patients. Also Read - Can Alcohol-Based Sanitizers be Used to Clean Mosques Amid COVID-19? Darul Uloom Deoband Answers Through New Fatwa

The facility at Makkah Masjid in the Shanti Nagar area of the power loom town has been set up by the local chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Movement for Peace and Justice and the Shanti Nagar Trust, which runs the mosque.

Apart from putting up five beds equipped with oxygen cylinders, the JIH also delivers them for free to patients’ homes if required, an office-bearer of the JIH said, adding the makeshift facility is open to all communities.

So far, the Bhiwandi-Nizampur municipality has recorded over 1,332 COVID-19 cases and 88 casualties. It has a mortality rate of 5.26 percent, a release stated.

“Bhiwandi-Nizampur has been hit hard by the pandemic as it is a congested city. It doesn’t even have proper health infrastructure.

“The situation has only worsened during the pandemic as general medical practitioners have shut their clinics fearing the virus spread,” said Ausaf Ahmed Falahi, president of the JIH’s Bhiwandi chapter.

As a majority of people here lack awareness about the viral disease and are unable to afford treatment, a facility like this one was the need of the hour, he said.

Over 70 persons have benefited from this facility, which has two doctors, while 15 oxygen cylinders have been delivered to the homes of eight COVID-19 patients, Falahi said.

People irrespective of their religion have been availing treatment at the mosque, he added.

“Makkah Masjid has been shut for prayers since the lockdown. So, we decided to use a part of the premises to help those who can’t avail treatment elsewhere,” said Qaiser Mirza of the Shanti Nagar Trust.