Pune: Collector warns housing societies against harassment of COVID-19 patients, families

Atikh Rashid
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Ram also advised persons placed under home quarantine to follow the prescribed “dos and dont’s carefully so that they don’t endanger others around them”. (Representational Image)

Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram has warned members and office-bearers of housing societies in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to ensure that those detected positive for coronavirus and those who have been directed to remain in home-isolation are not harassed or suffer “social boycott” at the hands of fellow residents in the housing society.

“Contracting coronavirus is not a sin. It’s just a form of flu and anyone can contract it. It’s important that patients or their family members or others who have been advised institutional or home quarantine are not treated badly by fellow residents,” Ram said, adding that he has received some complaints regarding this from the city.

“It doesn’t behove well for a progressive city like Pune that patients suffering from an infection face harassment,” said Ram. He warned office-bearers and members of housing societies that if found that any patient or their families were harassed, they would face action under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Ram also advised persons placed under home quarantine to follow the prescribed “dos and dont’s carefully so that they don’t endanger others around them”.

“We are seeing two kinds of extreme reactions from residents: some are in super panic mode and others are taking extreme casual approach as if the epidemic threat doesn’t exist. Both approaches are wrong and we want people to be aware about the threat and take necessary precautions without creating panic or trouble for others,” said Ram.

Divisional Commissioner Pune Deepak Mhaisekar said detection of four positive cases in Pimpri-Chinchwad involving those who had not visited any foreign country points at local transmission and hence more strict and careful “social distancing” was required to check the spread of the epidemic.

“Of the five positive cases that were detected Saturday night in Pimpri-Chinchwad, four are local transmissions and that has worried us. These four patients are family members of another man who was detected positive for the virus after a tour to Dubai. With fresh evidence of local transmission, we have to change our strategy and strengthen our containment plan,” said Mhaisekar.

The fifth person — a 21-year-old from Pimpri — who was reported positive on Saturday night was part of a Thailand touring team a few weeks ago. “This tour had 93 members in total and we have obtained contact details of all these participants and are approaching them for further action,” said Mhaisekar.

A core group has been formed comprising senior IAS officers in the city to take all major decisions dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. The group includes Mhaisekar, Pune district collector, municipal commissioners and police commissioners of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad among others.

“All orders will be issued with the sign of the collector and will be followed by all. We have created a system wherein all orders issued by district collector will be implemented in toto,” said Mhaisekar.

Section 144 likely in some areas

The Pune District Administration is likely to impose restrictions on assembly of people in public places in some areas of the city using Section 141 of the Indian Penal Code or Section 144 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure to prevent community transmission of coronavirus in the city.

Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said the restriction on gathering need to be put in some areas of the city so that the infection does not spread to other areas with gathering and movement of the people.

“The orders regarding this are likely to be issued shortly,” Ram said on Sunday. He also directed private firms — especially those in IT, software and other services industry — to allow their employees to work from home or give such concessions.

“If firms can grant work from home permissions to their employees, they should immediately issue such orders,” said Ram.