Pune heads for stricter containment measures with spike in coronavirus cases

Geeta Nair

Three people died in Pune on Tuesday due to coronavirus, taking the total number of dead to eight, six of whom passed away in the last two days. With 41 new cases detected on Monday and the total Covid-19 positive cases going up to 146 on Tuesday, Pune is heading for even more stringent containment measures. In addition to the lockdown, large parts of Pune was sealed by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) preventing any sort of entry and exit from these areas.

Three senior citizens passed away on Tuesday and all of them were Covid-19 positive but also suffered with co-morbid conditions. They had no foreign travel history and were residents of Pune. The PMC commissioner declared a health emergency, and starting Tuesday morning, sealed the densely populated old city areas (peths) of Kondhwa and two slum pockets. These parts were barricaded and movement of people has been restricted. Even essential services will be limited. These locations will remain sealed for a week and be reviewed. Use of mask has been made compulsory by the city administration.

According to the district collectorate data, half the cases in Pune came from travellers who returned from overseas and the other half got infected through contacts. The first case was reported on February 25 and since then 5,756 people have been under observation, isolation or quarantine. There are six testing labs for Covid-19 and 18 collection centres and one dedicated Covid-19 care hospital.

As part of the cluster containment strategy, the areas sealed include Ravivar Peth, Guruvar Peth, Budhwar Peth, Nana Peth, stretch from Maharashinagar to Regional Transport Office and Kondhwa areas.  A meeting was held in Pune by the divisional commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar to review situation in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad with police commissioner K Venkatesham, Pune municipal commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad, Pimpri Chinchwad municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar and Pune district collector Naval Kishor Ram.

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope indicated on Monday that they would consider extending the lockdown in the state’s most affected cities - Mumbai and Pune even after the 21 day lockdown ends.