No easing of restrictions in Pune as positivity rate is high: Deputy CM

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Pune, Jul 16 (PTI) Pune and some other districts will not witness immediate relaxation of coronavirus restrictions as the positivity rate in these areas has not declined much, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after a COVID-19 review meeting here, Pawar, who is also the guardian minister for Pune, said the government has decided to continue the level three restrictions in the district.

The state government has devised five levels of restrictions, the fifth level being the harshest, depending on the severity of the pandemic in a given area.

'In some districts the positivity rate has come down to zero per cent, however, in some districts such as Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, Solapur, Pune, Raigad and Ahmednagar, the positivity rate has not declined as much as it should have, so the current restrictions will remain in force,' he said.

Shops in Pune will, thus, be allowed to operate till only 4 pm, he said.

'The weekly positivity rate of Pune district is 5.7 percent. The recovery rate is 97.30 percent,' Pawar said.

Asked about the demand from various sectors for some relaxation, he said the positivity rate must go down further.

'The positivity rate has come down (to around five per cent) but the graph has stagnated at one point. According to experts, it should go down further, the way it has declined in some areas to zero. If that happens, we will offer more relaxation,' said Pawar.

The district administration is increasing the number of hospital beds to prepare for a possible third wave, he said.

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, technical advisor to the state government on the pandemic, has suggested putting emphasis on institutional isolation instead of home isolation to curb the spread of infection, Pawar said.

On vaccine supply, he said the state government was told that the supply of doses will increase by June-end.

'There has been no instance when the vaccine was available on all seven days of a week. There were times when the vaccination had to be stopped for a day or two during a week. It means they (the Union government) does not have that much stock,' Pawar said.

On the water situation in Pune, Pawar said the rains were satisfactory in June, but not in July so far. 'The current water storage in the dams which provide water to Pune city is 30 to 31 percent. We expect that there would be more rainfall in coming days,' he said. PTI SPK KRK KRK

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