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All international travellers arriving at Pune airport to be quarantined

All international passengers will have to undergo institutional qauarnatine as Pune cracks down on coronavirus outbreak.

All international passengers will have to undergo institutional qauarnatine as Pune cracks down on coronavirus outbreak.   | Photo Credit: Mitesh Bhuvad

Bus services cut by 50%; number of commuters falls from 12 lakh to 4.84 lakh

The Pune district administration on Thursday announced a 24-hour compulsory ‘institutional quarantine’ for all international travellers disembarking at Pune Airport.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Dr. Deepak Mhaisekar said all elective surgeries that could wait for the time being were being postponed thus giving medical staff more time to focus on tackling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“Henceforth, all passengers disembarking at Pune airport would be sent straight to an institutional quarantine facility. We will also start screening at certain points in different railway stations either tonight or tomorrow morning to make sure that we have not skipped screening anyone landing at the airport who should decide to travel by rail,” said Dr. Mhaisekar, adding that the number of flights landing at Pune airport had reduced from 110 to 67.

Earlier, only those international passengers who arrived at the airport and were found with symptoms were sent to Naidu Hospital. The administration was looking at increasing their quarantine facilities across the district to accommodate 10,000 persons either suspected or who had tested positive for COVID-19.

On the question of postponement of elective surgeries, he said the decision had been taken following a meeting of doctors and that there was no blanket ban on this from the administration’s point of view.

“We are making it clear, in case of postponement of an elective surgery, the decision would completely rest with the doctor depending on the patient-doctor relationship. We have not put any ban in this regard,” he stressed.

Shops to shut

Meanwhile, the Federation of Trader Associations of Pune (FTAP), which has nearly 40,000 shops under its umbrella, has called for a shut down until further directives from the district administration.

This means that barring essential commodities like foodgrains, vegetables and medicines, all other shops including jewellery, apparel, automobiles, stationery across the city are to remain closed.

The FTAP had earlier called for a three-day shutdown on March 16. Today, after reviewing the situation and considering the gravity of the crisis, its representatives have decided to extend the duration of the shutdown with a view to preclude mass gatherings in shops.

A number of areas in Pune city wore a deserted look following the District Collector’s order of Wednesday issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Epidemic Act 1897 banning the assembly of five or persons in public as well as private places, including work spaces.

District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said that all restaurants and hotels, too, would be closedwith the aim of discouraging assembly. However, there would be no stoppage of online food services.

Following the Pune district administration’s order urging all the private firms involved in non-essential services to facilitate ‘work from home’ for their employees, the city police on Thursday visited offices in the major IT hubs at Hinjewadi and Magarpatta city to ensure that this was being adhered to.

“While 25,000 personnel are seen on an average on a given day at Phase 1 of the Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, today only 1,400 were present. We are trying to reduce even these numbers by exhorting IT firms to permit their employees to work from home,” said an official from the Hinjewadi Police Station.

The Pimpri-Chinchwad police registered FIRs against 16 shop owners for not keeping shops closed as per the administration’s order.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mhaisekar said that the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) had cut down its bus services by 50% in a bid to enforce social distancing and discourage commute.

“As a result, the number of commuters using public transport has come down from12 lakh to 4.84 lakh. We expect the numbers to go down further in the coming days. This gradual process will be on to restrict movement within the city,” said Dr. Mhaisekar.

Stressing that there was no shortage of masks in Pune, he said that 43,980 homes had been surveyed till date with more than 1.74 lakh persons screened for signs of the virus of which 10 persons had been referred to Naidu Hospital.

Till now, the district has 19 positive cases with eight in Pune and 11 in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 6:11:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/all-international-travellers-arriving-at-pune-airport-to-be-quarantined/article31113076.ece

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