PUNE District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said on Thursday that the city administration was well equipped to deal with coronavirus cases and precautions were being taken at various levels.
Considering the overall situation, Pune residents had no reason to panic and they should take basic precautions such as avoiding large congregations and using hand sanitizers to pre-empt an infection, Ram told The Indian Express.
He said the district administration had impaneled 10 private hospitals in the Pune Municipal Corporation jurisdiction and eight hospitals in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation jurisdiction — apart from four government hospitals — to prepare for an “outbreak scenario” which, he said, was unlikely.
“At the moment, there is no reason for Pune residents to panic or worry about coronavirus. But we are advising local residents to take preliminary precautions such as avoiding handshakes and not participating in large gatherings,” said Ram.
He said the empaneled hospitals have set up isolation wards, which will be used if and when needed. These hospitals will collect and send samples for tests to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) to determine if a ‘suspected patient’ has the infection.
The district collector said though the Pune airport only had limited connectivity with international destinations, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) was taking all measures to screen passengers arriving from these destinations.
The airport receives an average of 10 international flights per week and it has three thermal scanners to scan the passengers, said Pune Airport Director Kuldeep Singh, adding that the scanners were enough.
“#CoronaAlert The fully qualified APHO team at our airport has an adequate number of thermal scanners for screening. 267 passengers arriving on three international flights were screened today.
The airport authority has also organized an awareness campaign for Covid-19 in association with the National Disaster Response Force. Aware, Alert and Active,” Pune Airport administration tweeted on Thursday.
Amid rising concern over coronavirus cases, many organisers cancel Holi celebrations
Written by Swasti Kulshreshtha & Samriddhi Sakunia
Amidst a rising number of coronavirus cases and advisories asking people to avoid large gatherings, many organisers of Holi events have decided to cancel their programmes, while others have adopted a wait-and-watch policy.
Some leading hotels such as The Hyatt Place and Marriott, Hinjewadi, have decided to cancel their Holi celebrations. Others, like The Orchid Hotel, said they would go ahead with Holi parties but ensure that adequate arrangements for providing hand sanitisers and masks were made. They were also planning to restrict the number of attendees.
The annual Rang Barse event organised by the Bhoi Foundation in Camp area will also not be held this year. Some housing societies have informed their members that community Holi events were being cancelled.
The Rang De Pune event at Sayaji Hotel is going ahead as planned, though Raj Purohit, one of the organisers, said queries for attendance had gone down. Organisers of the Azzuro Ki Holi and The Aries Events shared similar observations.
The organiser of the Sunburn Event, Aryan Navale, said attendance of eight to ten thousand people had been confirmed for the event. “Since there has been no order from the government, we are not cancelling the event,” he said.
Pune does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of now. Currently, there are 10 suspected patients under observation at Naidu Hospital. However, there have been advisories asking people to avoid large gatherings and close contacts with others. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and some others have announced that they will not participate in Holi events.
The issue came up during a video conference that the Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta had with district collectors and divisional commissioners on prevention and control measures for the coronavirus. The chief secretary said people needed to be told to avoid large social gatherings and crowds.
City MLA Siddharth Shirole also made a similar appeal. “Holi is one of my favourite festivals, a special celebration, but today we have to be proactive in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and avoid large gatherings. I won’t be participating in Holi events. I request you and your loved ones to refrain from doing the same,” he said in a tweet on Thursday.
Pune stores running low on hand sanitiser, masks
Medical stores in several localities of Pune said they were running out of stock of hand sanitiser and masks due to high demand, especially for N95 masks.
Girish Sinfal, an employee of MJ Healthcare, said that every day, about 40-50 people wouldbuy masks and hand sanitiser. Sunil Rathi, the owner of Rathi Medicals, said over 100 people were asking for N95 masks, which is sold at Rs 90, everyday.
Similarly, Shankar Chaudhary, an employee with Plus Medico, said roughly 200-300 people everyday were asking for masks and sanitiser. “The number of people seeking to buy sanitiser and masks are rapidly increasing, but the supply of these products is slowing down,” he said.
Mahendra Pitaliya, a pharmaceutical trader, said, “The demand for masks and sanitiser has increased drastically as compared to the production capacity of these products. This has led to the low supply of these products in the market, and those available are immediately sold.”
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