Pondy health officials rue lax adherence to COVID-19 norms

Puducherry, May 15 (PTI): The rise in the number of COVID-19 cases here to seven with three more testing positive for the infection causes concern, top health officials said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Health secretary Prashanth Kumar Panda and director of Health and Family Welfare Service S Mohan Kumar said the Union Territory would witness more cases if there was no adherence to norms.

Panda said a woman, her daughter and an industrial worker who have had contact history from the woman's COVID- 19-stricken husband in recent days had increased the number of cases from four to seven, including a patient in Karaikal.

'The message we get is that people are not disciplined, which is unfortunate. This betrays the fact that people are not maintaining social distancing and isolation. The rise in cases is a wake-up call for the people to follow the lockdown norms,' he said.

The Secretary said the government was putting in efforts to keep the pandemic at bay. With the number of cases in adjoining Tamil Nadu districts of Villupuram and Cuddalore registering a high number of cases, Puducherry would also be at risk if there is no adherence to the lockdown norms such as social distancing, washing of hands, wearing of masks and isolation.

He said testing of samples was on at various places and of the 5,113 samples tested so far 4,963 samples tested negative. Results of the remaining tests were awaited.

'If people are not cautious, the pandemic will spread easily and quickly,' he said.

The director of Health Service said when the ongoing lockdown is eased on May 17 there was the possibility of Puducherry seeing a larger number of people from neighbouring districts. '...Hence social distancing and other restrictions should be followed in letter and spirit,' he said.

'If people do not cooperate, the steps taken over the last 70 days to prevent the spread of the infection will go for a toss,' the director said. PTI COR NVG NVG