Pune couple, who were Maharashtra’s index cases, discharged from hospital
Three other patients in close contact with the duo likely to be discharged today; State’s tally touches 122
In a heartening piece of news, the Pune-based couple, who were the first COVID-19 positive cases in Maharashtra, were discharged from Naidu Hospital on Wednesday. According to district administration officials, their samples following the 14-day isolation period, as well as their repeat samples taken 24 hours later, tested negative.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said three other patients in close contact with the couple, who had tested positive the very next day (March 10), could expect discharge on Thursday if both their samples returned negative.
“The first samples of the three patients in close contact with the couple have tested negative. Today, we are awaiting the results of their repeat samples. If they return negative as well, then these three people will be discharged on Thursday,” Mr. Mhaisekar said, lauding the efforts of all medical personnel in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The couple, who were part of a 40-member tour group to Dubai, had returned to India along with their daughter on March 1. On landing at Mumbai International Airport, they had taken a cab to Pune.
After the couple tested positive on March 9, their daughter, along with another co-passenger from Yavatmal, and the cab driver who ferried them, had also tested positive on March 10.
Soon after their discharge on the occasion of Gudi Padwa, the couple penned a note of heartfelt thanks to doctors and staff of Naidu Hospital. “We were admitted on March 9. We adhered strictly to all rules laid down by the doctors and the hospital staff. After our repeat samples have returned negative, we are being discharged today. We are now cured and are coronavirus-free and are sure that other patients like us who have tested positive would recover very soon,” the couple wrote.
While Mr. Mhaisekar expressed satisfaction at the development, he said it was a matter of grave concern that the number of positive cases in Pune division continued to rise.
Maharashtra’s sugar heartland witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday after five more people of a family from Islampur tehsil in Sangli district in western Maharashtra tested positive for the virus, taking the State’s tally to 122 (10 cases reported from Mumbai Metropolitan Region). “The new cases in Sangli are members of the same family with a travel history to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
On Monday, four members of this family had tested positive, making them the first cases in the district. With the fresh cases, Sangli now has a total of nine positive cases.
Mr. Mhaisekar further said that till now, samples of 825 people had been taken of which 737 samples had been received thus far. “Of these, 692, that is 90% of the samples, have returned negative while 37 samples in the division have tested positive.”
Urging people to stay indoors and strictly follow the lockdown orders during the 21-day period as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Mhaisekar warned that the district administration’s containment plan was in danger of derailing if people congregated needlessly at vegetable markets or grocery stores.
“It is the responsibility of every citizen to support medical staff who are striving to combat the crisis, by staying indoors and prevent the spread of infection. I request all to not violate the 21-day lockdown. No essential supply, be it medicines, foodgrains or vegetables, will be hit even if there may be supply snags for a while,” he said.
He further warned that if any officer neglected his duty in tackling this crisis, then they would face stern action.
Hitherto untouched by the scourge of the virus, Sangli and Satara districts have witnessed a spurt in positive cases in the last 72 hours.
On Tuesday, the Sangli district police had lodged a complaint against a father-son duo hailing from Nepal and living in Miraj tehsil from violating home quarantine orders.
According to authorities, the family of four, which had settled at Karnal in Miraj for some years, used to eke out a living by doing menial tasks and freelancing as labourers. Earlier this month, the father and the son had returned from Nepal and had been kept under strict quarantine, which they violated.
On Monday this week, Maharashtra's sugar-belt districts had recorded its first positive cases after a 45-year-old woman from Satara with a travel history to Dubai tested positive. A second case in Satara emerged after a 63-year-old man who had recently returned from California was found positive for the virus.