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Coronavirus | Pune braces for worst-case scenario: 10,000 cases by May-end

Fond farewell: Doctors and staff applaud recovered COVID-19 patients in Pune on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Jignesh Mistry

In the worst-case scenario, the number of COVID-19 cases in Pune could touch 10,000 by May-end, Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said, but added that the civic body was prepared to tackle this surge.

Mr. Gaikwad said the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will set up a temporary 10,000-bed hospital at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi to tackle the growing number of cases.

“We have reached this figure going by the worst-case scenario. Given that all hospitals are packed to capacity, there is a big logistical problem in accommodating growing numbers of asymptomatic cases. Hence, we have decided to establish this temporary hospital and have appointed a staff for the same. Around 200 of these beds will have portable oxygen ventilators,” the civic chief said.

Mr. Gaikwad told The Hindu that micro-containment zones will be sealed off till May 17, while activity will be steadily revived in the non-containment zones. “This process of completely locking down the infected micro-clusters while gradually normalising the non-infected parts has not even been implemented within the Mumbai civic limits,” he said.

Mr. Gaikwad said while shops in the 69 containment zones within the city had been allowed to function between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. till now, residents had been lax in adhering to physical distancing norms.

“As a result, cases have continued to soar in these high-risk clusters. So, we have now decided to keep all shops closed beginning Sunday midnight till May 17. Only dispensaries and medical stores will be exempted. We are working on either door-to-door delivery of essentials like milk and vegetables in these containment zones, or having an individual milk or vegetable seller provide supplies for a limited time at a particular point,” Mr. Gaikwad said.

The containment zones would be completely segregated from non-infected areas by barricades of large tin sheds.

He said he has urged the Federation of Trade Association of Pune (FTAP), which has refused to open retail stores until there was greater clarity on directives, to reopen smaller shops. “The workforce in the unorganised workforce is becoming increasingly restive and is reeling under the prolonged lockdown. So I have urged the FTAP to at least permit the smaller shops to open by which some of these labourers can avail of work,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pune district recorded yet another spike of 98 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the district’s cumulative tally, including deaths and recoveries, to 2,830. Three fatalities took the death toll to 151, said health officials.

The number of active cases has reached 1,741, of which 96 patents are said to be in a critical condition.

The death toll in Pune division, which includes Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur districts, now stands at 168. Solapur has reported 13 deaths, Satara two, and Kolhapur and Sangli one each thus far.

Solapur had reported 42 new cases on Saturday to take the district’s tally to 238, while the reports of a recently deceased 48-year-old woman in Ashok Nagar area, too, had returned positive. The rising number of cases has prompted officials to divide the city into 41 containment zones. Satara has recorded 119 cases till date, including one from Mahabaleshwar, while Sangli and Kolhapur have reported a total 37 and 18 cases respectively.

As many as 1,023 people from Pune division, which includes 938 from Pune district, have been discharged thus far, said Divisional Commissioner Dr. Deepak Mhaisekar.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 5:27:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-pune-braces-for-worst-case-scenario-10000-cases-by-may-end/article31553158.ece

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