Pune: With almost two thousand fresh Covid-19 cases being reported in the city every day and the number of critical patients rising to around the 1000 mark, shortage of oxygenated and ventilated hospital beds in the city has become acute. Adding fuel to the speculations, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had also commented about a possible ‘janata curfew’ (voluntary lockdown) in the city to break the chain of coronavirus spread. As a result, speculations of another lockdown in the offing are doing the rounds and citizens, especially traders and self-employed professionals are left clueless, as to these speculations are rumours or for real.
District Collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh, Pune Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar and Pune Police Commissioner Dr K Venkatesham are the key players who would decide whether another lockdown should be imposed in the city or not. On this background, we asked District Collector Dr Deshmukh to clarify his stand on the lockdown speculations. “No decision regarding imposing a fresh lockdown in the district has been taken so far,” said Dr Deshmukh.
Traders in the city are strongly opposed to any kind of lockdown being enforced in the city again. Earlier, when the district administration in July had announced a 10-day strict lockdown, the trader community had challenged the decision and had threatened non-cooperation with the authorities. However, the administration officials assured the traders that no further lockdown would be imposed and hence the traders softened their stand and cooperated with the authorities.
The jumbo hospital facility setup at the College of Engineering Pune (COEP) grounds has proved to be inefficient and has failed to provide any relief to citizens, patients’ as well as the administration in order to bring the Covid-19 situation under control. The under-utilization of oxygenated and ventilator beds at this jumbo hospital has put a burden on the other private and government healthcare facilities in the city. As a result, the administration is feeling the heat and with no other option available to keep the Covid-19 patient count manageable, officials are tending towards imposing another lockdown in the city.