10-day lockdown from Monday in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad

Last-minute shopping: A long queue outside a liquor shop in Pune on Friday after authorities declared a lockdown in the district from July 13 to 23.

Last-minute shopping: A long queue outside a liquor shop in Pune on Friday after authorities declared a lockdown in the district from July 13 to 23.   | Photo Credit: -

With Pune reporting an average of 1,000 new COVID-19 cases every day for the past one week, the district administration on Friday announced a strict 10-day lockdown from July 13 to check the spread of the virus.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar declared the decision after a meeting with Ajoy Mehta, principal adviser to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, State Health Secretary Dr. Pradeep Vyas, and senior officials of the Pune district administration.

Mr. Pawar said the lockdown is being imposed as people are not taking the COVID-19 situation seriously in the district. “We are forced to take this decision because rules are not being followed. A complete lockdown has been announced for Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and 22 villages in the district from July 13 to 23. Only shops providing essential services, medical stores and hospitals will remain open,” he said.

The district reported 1,124 new cases till Friday evening, pushing its tally to 35,528, of which 13,132 are active cases. With six more deaths, the toll has risen to 98. On Thursday, the district reported 1,803 new cases.

‘Alarming rise in cases’

Pune Divisional Commissioner Dr. Deepak Mhaisekar said, “In view of an alarming rise in cases across the district, we have decided to enforce a 10-day lockdown. The first five days of the lockdown [July 13 midnight to July 18 midnight] will be stringent. Only supply of milk will be allowed and medical stores and hospitals can remain open during this time.”

Dr. Mhaisekar said a decision on keeping vegetable and grocery shops open will be taken on July 18. “People can stock up on all essential items over the next three days,” he said. Specific directives on the functioning of industries, resumption of newspapers and online deliveries, and staff capacity in government offices will be issued on Saturday evening.

The administration, especially the Pune Municipal Corporation, will be ramping up its medical infrastructure and setting up a jumbo COVID-19 facility and increasing the number of COVID-19 care centres. Dr. Mhaisekar said, “While a lockdown may not be the only solution, it is certainly the best way to break the chain of transmission. Uttar Pradesh, which has only 1,200 cases, has imposed a lockdown. Even if Pune’s case fatality rate is reducing, the infection is rapidly spreading.”

District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said the lockdown would not automatically reduce the number of cases. “The impact will be visible only after a fortnight. We will be utilising this time to streamline hospitals and put bed management systems in place,” he said.

‘People flouting rules’

Mr. Ram said there was nothing sudden about the lockdown and it was unfortunate that people across the district were not taking precautions. He said the frequent flouting of directives compelled the administration to impose the lockdown.

Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said the measure was an “interim alternative” and isolating, detecting and testing of patients will be intensified during the lockdown period.

‘Essential units can open’

Mr. Hardikar said Pimpri-Chinchwad is a vital industrial hub in the State and the functioning of essential manufacturing units would be permitted. “The pass system will be started again. Besides essential manufacturing units, nothing else will be allowed to remain open. The impact will start showing by July-end,” he said.

Pimpri-Chinchwad has witnessed a staggering surge of 4,500 cases after lockdown measures were gradually relaxed from May 17. “The doubling rate has increased rapidly, rendering the movement of people between Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad highly unsafe,” Mr. Hardikar said.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 11:42:06 PM |

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