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Coronavirus | Number of positive cases in Pune rises to 23 as woman with no history of foreign travel tests positive

File photo of passengers, mostly migrant workers wait in queue to buy tickets at LTT terminus.

File photo of passengers, mostly migrant workers wait in queue to buy tickets at LTT terminus.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

She could have come in contact with a person with a history of foreign travel and her recent cab journey to Mumbai is being investigated: Pune Collector

A city-based woman in her early 40s with no history of foreign travel has tested positive for COVID-19, confirmed Pune district authorities on Saturday, taking the total tally of positive cases in the district to 23.

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The woman, presently on ventilator support at the city’s Bharti Hospital, tested positive for COVID-19 after her throat swabs were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) to check for the possibility of H1N1 (swine flu) infection, said an official.

“Although she tested positive for COVID-19, she does not have a history of travel abroad. It appears that she had travelled to Vashi (in Navi Mumbai) to attend a wedding on March 3. It is possible that she came into contact with a person with a history of foreign travel,” said Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram, informing that details of the woman’s cab journey to Mumbai are being investigated.

This is perhaps the first case in the district with no history of foreign travel to test positive, as the persons who tested positive in other cases had either travelled abroad or had infected their kin or fellow travellers.

Remarking that there were separate guidelines to deal with such cases, he said the woman’s case had been referred to higher authorities for further probe. The second case in the city to test positive is that of a 25-year-old youth who had recently travelled to England and Ireland.

On Friday, a 20-year-old youth with a travel history to Scotland had tested positive. Currently, the number of positive cases in Pune has risen to 11, while Pimpri-Chinchwad has 12 cases, taking the total to 23.

Homeward bound: Migrant workers gather in large numbers at Pune railway station on Saturday to rush to their hometowns in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the State.

Homeward bound: Migrant workers gather in large numbers at Pune railway station on Saturday to rush to their hometowns in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the State.   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

Compulsory quarantine at airport

With the view to check the spread of COVID-19, the Pune district administration on Thursday announced a 24-hour compulsory ‘institutional quarantine’ for all international travellers disembarking at Pune Airport.

The Pune district administration has already issued advisories directing all IT companies and industrial units to permit their employees to work from home wherever possible.

As a proactive step, the authorities have been enforcing all kinds of social distancing measures by shutting down schools and colleges, gyms, malls, museums with hoteliers’ and traders’ associations each taking voluntary decisions to keep their establishments closed for three days to curb the spread of the virus.

The city’s iconic landmarks like the Shaniwarwada Fort and the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesha Temple have been temporarily shut to visitors and devotees while shops in the usually bustling heart of Old Pune have all downed their shutters.

Home surveillance under way

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has formed 125 teams and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has constituted another 50 teams to conduct home surveillance on COVID-19 suspects across the two civic bodies with nearly 16,000 homes being covered thus far.

On March 9, a city-based couple who were part of a 40-member group tour to Dubai were the first in the State to test positive for COVID-19.

‘3 lakh families to get advance rations’

Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday said arrangements were being put in place to ensure that three lakh families from the social margins received advance rations. The move is aimed at easing the financial burden wrought by the pandemic on the poorer sections in Pune district.

“We are making arrangements to provide rations to three lakh economically backward families for a period of three months in advance. This will be a great respite to them,” said Mr. Javadekar, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, after taking stock of the measures taken by the Pune district administration to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Mr. Javadekar, who hails from Pune, reviewed the measures via a videoconference with Pune Divisional Commissioner Dr. Deepak Mhaisekar, District Collector Naval Kishor Ram and other officials of the administration. Pune district has registered the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases in Maharashtra, with the tally up to 23 till now.

Prakash Javadekar

Prakash Javadekar   | Photo Credit: Kamal Kishore

He noted the work of the authorities in increasing isolation facilities across Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to screen patients and treat positive cases.

“I have spoken with officials and asked them about their expectations from the Centre. I will put forth their demands to respective ministries, including Health and Railways, and follow it up,” he promised. He appreciated the efforts of the authorities in working towards reducing traffic on the roads, ensuring that people worked from their homes and running urgent awareness programmes to control the spread of the virus.

Urging the public, especially those in the rural areas, not to take the menace lightly, Mr. Javadekar said: “Let no one from the rural hinterland think that since he or she had not travelled anywhere abroad, they were safe from this virus. I call upon the public to postpone their travel arrangements. This is a grave menace. While there is no need to be scared, one must be careful.”

He expressed satisfaction at the efforts undertaken by the district administration in screening passengers landing at Pune airport and entering Pune, especially those who had landed previously at Mumbai airport and entered the city via road.

“The entire world is fighting the menace of coronavirus. We are doing it as well under the Prime Minister Modi’s leadership. I am sure that all Punekars will respond to the Prime Minister’s appeal to make the ‘Janata Curfew’ on Sunday a resounding success,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 7:05:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-number-of-positive-cases-in-pune-rises-to-23-as-woman-with-no-history-of-foreign-travel-tests-positive/article31126487.ece

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