The ongoing 10-day lockdown in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and parts of Pune rural will not extend beyond July 23, Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram said on Monday. The administration believes that continuation of the lockdown in its present form will not be required, although some restrictions will remain in place to avoid crowding, he said.
On the efficacy of the lockdown, which was widely protested by various sectors, Ram said during the first five days of strict lockdown, the administration increased the daily testing average and the number of beds, both in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and those with ventilator support, in city hospitals and rural areas.
“The lockdown will not be extended. That’s the consensus among all the officers. One option being considered is restrictions on movement and shops on Saturdays and Sundays. We don’t want to hurt businesses, but this could help us avoid unnecessary crowding in markets,” Ram told reporters at an online press conference on Monday.
Ram said although the number of Covid-19 cases detected per day in Pune was increasing, the mortality rate has dipped. He said the administration was working towards taking the CFR (case fatality rate) to less than 1 per cent.
“The mortality rate of the district is about 2.6 per cent. For urban areas, it is 1.7 and for rural areas, it is 1.6 per cent. The CFR is slightly higher for cantonment and municipal councils. We are aiming that with the ongoing efforts and early detection, we will take it down to below 1 per cent,” said Ram.
The collector said that after the administration’s orders to private hospitals to send home mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, who were admitted to various private hospitals, a large number of patients have opted for home isolation, freeing up a number of hospital beds.
“I don’t have exact numbers but after the directives, the bed availability in private hospitals has improved. One of the major private hospitals now has nearly 25 per cent vacancies of Covid-19 beds,” said Ram.
Meanwhile, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration on Monday said it will continue with the strategy of micro-containment zones to check the spread of Covid-19 in civic jurisdiction.
After easing the lockdown a few months ago, the PMC had adopted the strategy of declaring containment zones based on the number of patients in various parts of the city. The civic body has been reducing the size of containment zones, which has led to an increase in the number of zones. The city currently has 109 micro-containment zones.
“The chief minister reviewed the situation and it was clarified that the entire city will not be considered a containment zone,” said Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar,.
He added that the PMC will continue with this containment zone strategy and change in strategy, if any, will be made public soon.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Shantanu Goel said the civic administration used the lockdown period to increase testing by introducing the rapid antigen method. “It has helped the PMC identify more infected people and isolate them for further treatment. The civic administration will continue to increase the testing further,” he said.
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