Pune: While assuring Punekars' that the existing strict lockdown won't be extended after Thursday (July 23), the district and civic administration has made it clear that they do have plans for 'weekend lockdowns' hereafter to curb the spread of coronavirus in the city. Also, even if relaxations are given in lockdown from Friday, wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing will be mandatory, officials have stated.
District Collector Naval Kishor Ram, Pune Municipal Additional Commissioner Shantanu Goyal, Pune Police Commissioner briefed mediapersons about the future of lockdown in the city.
Collector Ram said, "None of the officials believe that lockdown is a solution to Covid-19. But recently there was a spike in COVID-19 cases and this 10 day lockdown was in response to control those numbers. We had allowed industries and companies to function and none from these sectors have any complaint against us."
The decision of imposing a 10-day strict lockdown was taken by the administration on the instructions of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on July 10. The decision was taken as the number of COVID-19 cases reported daily had breached the 1800 mark and there was acute shortage of Intensive Care Units, ventilator and oxygen beds in the city. However, people at large were opposed to a complete shutdown and demanded that only those areas reporting a higher number of cases should be sealed to save the economy and livelihoods of people.
The Bhartiya Janata Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Republican Party of India (Athavale Group) and several other parties had opposed the re-imposing of lockdown in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad cities. The trade associations had also warned of rising public anger against the officials due to the lockdown decision and had appealed to the PMC to not extend the lockdown further. Some traders had even threatened to not follow the norms if the administration goes ahead with their unilateral decisions.
Ram said, "There are about 17054 active cases of Covid-19 in the district at present, but we have a recovery rate of 64 per cent. The mortality rate in Pune city is 2.6 per cent, Pimpri-Chinchwad is 1.7 per cent and in rural areas of district it is 1.6 per cent. We have undertaken several measures to reduce the case to mortality ratio further down."
"We have increased the number of Covid-tests that are conducted daily up to six thousand. Hence we might see the number of cases rising for the next few days, but the situation will be under control. We will also ensure that all lockdown norms are followed in containment zones and during weddings or functions by the public," Ram concluded.