Updated: August 24, 2020 10:36:45 am
EVEN AS Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he wished that people remained healthy by following all precautions so that the new “jumbo” Covid-19 treatment facility would remain “unused”, he reiterated that the state government would not remain ignorant of the pandemic situation and be prepared to handle a “second wave” of the infection.
Thackeray inaugurated the first jumbo Covid facility for Pune at College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) through videoconferencing. It has 800 beds, including 600 oxygen and 200 ICU beds.
“Pune has its first jumbo facility set up within a short span of time. Also, one to two jumbo facilities would be inaugurated within a week,” he said.
The chief minister said there was an issue being raised over whether these jumbo facilities would be useful, considering the number of people getting infected. “I want to make it clear that we cannot remain ignorant. The situation in Mumbai was under control but we cannot sit idle. It has been noticed everywhere that after the first wave, there is a second wave of infection. Initially, everyone was running around to control it but the facility would definitely be more helpful in tackling the situation in future,” Thackeray said.
He also said it had been noticed that more than ventilators, there was a demand of oxygen to treat patients and this was being effectively done at the jumbo facility being set up. These centres would be safe and equipped with the latest infrastructure, he added.
Thackeray said the state government was increasing testing across the state and working towards reducing the cost of tests and treatment.
“It is being speculated that the vaccine will be ready by December, which means everyone has to continue to live in present conditions for the next four months,” he said.
He also said it would be best to use a mask, maintain distance and wash hands regularly to keep the infection at bay.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said another such facility will be inaugurated on August 27 at Annasaheb Magar ground in Pimpri-Chinchwad and another 250-bed facility will be started in Baner by the next weekend.
“A month ago, a decision was made to set up three jumbo facilities in the district, but now we will only start two facilities,” Pawar said, adding that the CoEP facility will be functional from August 25 as it needed to be disinfected.
He said it had been noticed that 20 per cent patients at private hospitals in the city were from outside Pune district, and that the need of jumbo facilities would definitely help in reducing the patient burden on existing hospitals.
Mayor Murlidhar Mohol thanked the state government for the initiative to increase treatment facilities in the city. “It will help reduce fatality rate. There was a need for more oxygen beds and ventilators for the purpose, which would increase with jumbo facilities,” he said, adding that the PMC, PCMC, and Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) had come together to set it up within a short span of time.
Suhas Diwase, PMRDA commissioner, said the facility had been set up in a record time with 1,000 labourers working day and night to complete it. “There have been hurdles such as heavy rain and other technical glitches, but we managed to set up in record time with the support of all,” he said.
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