Pune, May 28 (PTI) Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Friday announced relaxation in coronavirus-induced restrictions in Pune for shops selling essential items, allowing them to operate on weekends for a certain period of time.
Earlier, rules in force in Pune specified that while those outlets dealing in non-essential items would not be allowed all through the week, the ones dealing in groceries, vegetables and fruits, milk etc, would have to remain shut as well during the weekends.
'Since the number of cases have come down in Pune, there was unanimity in a review meeting attended by elected representatives today that relaxation can be given on Saturday and Sunday to shops selling essential items,' he told reporters.
'Even state home minister Dilip Walse Patil insisted on removing the weekend curbs on them. So a decision has been taken to allow shops coming under the category of essential services to operate during the weekend from 7 am to 11 am,' the minister added.
Speaking on the COVID-19 situation here, Tope said the number of cases was declining, but the positivity rate (detections per 100 tests) continued to be higher than the state average at 11.9 per cent.
The mortality rate of Pune district stood at 1.6 per cent, he said, adding that directives have been issued to health authorities to 'track and trace' patients scientifically.
He said the decision to not allow home isolation was taken to ensure patients get proper treatment at COVID care centres along with timely monitoring of oxygen levels and other vital parameters.
'However, if some patient in the city has a big house and space is not an issue, then he or she can opt for home isolation. However, it is not advisable for those living in small dwellings,' the minister said.
Speaking on COVID-19 treatment bills, he said auditors would check each and every bill.
'Earlier, bills above Rs 1.5 lakh were being checked.
But it was noticed that hospitals were breaking up bills in three to four parts (to escape such checks). So, instructions have been issued that auditors will check each and every bill,' Tope explained. PTI SPK BNM BNM