AFTER the success of the ‘chase the virus’ mission in Mumbai, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said the Maharashtra government will replicate the plan across the state in a bid the check the spread of coronavirus and bring down the positivity rate.
Inaugurating Pune’s second jumbo hospital — a 816-bed facility at Nehrunagar in Pimpri-Chinchwad — online, the chief minister said, “The initiative was launched with the aim to reach out to people and treat them, rather than waiting for them to reach out to the doctors. It has been successful in Mumbai and therefore it should be replicated across the state. We need to identify, isolate and test people by reaching their doorsteps.”
“We need to reach out to people to check on their health, to check their oxygen levels, to check their co-morbidities… people with co-morbidities need to be quarantined, which means keeping them away from the virus. Treating them on priority is the need of the hour,” he said, adding that from next month, door-to-door tracking will begin.
Hailing the completion of the second jumbo hospital in Pune in a short period of time, Thackeray said, “Nobody will believe that the jumbo hospital was completed in a short span. Though it was set up quickly, it is not inferior in quality. It has all the required facilities and a team of specialists. It also has dialysis beds.”
The CM added, “When I had come to Pune on July 30, the Covid graph was rising. Officials had briefed me about the plan to set up the new facilities this month. I could not believe for a moment that it could happen in such a short time. The way the officials put in their determined effort to set up the jumbo hospitals… I am told that two other facilities are also coming up, I can only say, Shabbash Punekars.”
However, he added, “… We should not relax, now begins our test. The rainy season is underway and chances of seasonal allergies spreading can’t be ruled out. Tackling seasonal ailments along with Covid will be our biggest challenge and we will again have to rise to the occasion”.
“After setting up jumbo Covid hospitals, if we relax and believe that the virus will now be under control, we might have to face the second wave. Those countries which believed that ‘abhi ho gaya, humne maat kar di’ (we have beaten the pandemic) were all proved wrong as they faced the second wave. Besides, the belief that once a person has been infected with Covid-19 and he will not be infected again has also proved wrong… we should not relax and become complacent. There is no medicine, no vaccine yet. But that does not mean we can’t continue our fight. We need to keep fighting…We need to remain alert and keep chasing the virus in a bid to check its spread.”
The chief minister said work on a vaccine was underway in several cities, including Pune. “Even if the vaccine is available in the market, we will not be able to give it to the people at one go. Maharashtra has a population of 12 crore… it will take time to give the vaccine to such a large population. Besides, we are still not aware how long the effect of the vaccine will last,” he said, adding that he was praying to Ganpati keep people healthy, fit and corona-free.
“Keeping social distance, using masks and washing hands frequently should remain our daily priorities,” he urged the people.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Health Minister Rajesh Tope, Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao and District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh were also part of the event.
In his address, Pawar said,”When the jumbo hospital plan was discussed with the chief minister, he had said that we should set up the facility as soon as possible. Our officials accepted the challenge and, overcoming all odds like rain and slushy ground, completed the project in quick time. The Nehrunagar facility was slated for inauguration on the same day when the COEP jumbo hospital was inaugurated, on Sunday. However, due to a delay in procuring oxygen tankers, there was a delay in its inauguration.”
Pawar said the Nehrunagar facility will benefit not only the residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad but also those living in neighbouring talukas like Maval, Mulshi, Khed, Junnar and other areas. “Similarly, the COEP facility will be a boon for those living in PMC limits, cantonment limits as well in neighbouring talukas like Purandar, Indapur and Baramati,” he said.
Stating that the recovery rate in both PMC and PCMC areas was good, the deputy chief minister, however, told the officials,”We need to bring down the mortality rate in the jurisdiction of both civic bodies. PMC has a mortality rate of 2.25 per cent while PCMC has a mortality rate of less than 2 per cent. We should bring the mortality rate down to zero…Now that the jumbo hospitals are in place, we should ensure that not a single person dies of Covid.”
Pawar said the NCP has lost two sitting corporators to the infection and even a couple of former corporators have succumbed to the virus.
“We can pay tribute to them by saving maximum lives,” he said.
Tope said in both PMC and PCMC areas, testing has gone up. “In PMC areas, 86,000 tests have been conducted while in PCMC areas, 66,000 tests have been conducted. This is as per ICMR guideliness,” he said.
Urging PMC and PCMC officials to step up contact tracing as well, Tope said, “We seem to be tracing 10 persons behind every one person found positive. We should trace 15-20 persons, this will help us check the spread of the infection.”
Directing civic officials to bring down the positivity rate, Tope said,”In PMC areas, positivity rate is 20 per cent while it is 27 per cent in PCMC areas. We should increase our efforts to bring the positivity rate below 10 per cent.”
The minister said the government has shown a far-sighted approach in tackling the crisis, adding, “Maharashtra was the first state to implement the plan for reserving 80 per cent beds in private hospitals for Covid patients, capping bills and making funds worth Rs 1,800 crore available for the fight against Covid.”
Stating that the jumbo hospital was set up in less than 20 days, Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao said,”Pimpri-Chinchwad was 4-6 weeks behind Pune city in the matter of controlling the virus. But the CRF (case fatality rate) is under control. Now that the jumbo facility has come down and PCMC has stepped up contact tracing, the positivity rate is also expected to come down.”
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