Stepping up efforts to contain the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has urged residents of the industrial area to wear handmade masks when they go out to purchase medicines, vegetables or other grocery items.
Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said asked citizens to pay “serious heed” to the use of masks. “Besides washing hands in short intervals for 20 seconds, as well as maintain social distance, we want citizens to also wear masks when they step out of their homes…” he said.
Senior civic officials said the Union Health Ministry has also recommended the use of handmade masks in place of surgical masks. “The Ministry has said that use of handmade masks should be encouraged by local self-government bodies in their respective jurisdictions as an effective way to control spread of the contagion,” said a senior health official.
Hardikar said citizens need go to nearest medical shops to purchase the medical masks. “But they can make masks out of handkerchiefs or a piece of cloth to three layers. Citizens should ensure they wash the handkerchief after three to four hours and use a new one one,” he said.
PCMC health officials said if civic bodies advocate the use of masks in medical stores, their prices will shoot up. “Last week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also advised using a piece of cloth or handkerchiefs make masks,” a health department official said.
Hardikar said that while they are making appeals to citizens right now, if they refuse to listen, police might be used to enforce the law. “
Deputy Commissioner of Police Smita Patil said police was taking action against those unnecessarily moving out of their homes. “We booked several persons under Section 188 of the IPC. We will soon decide on what legal action should be taken against those found without masks,” she said.
BJP Pimpri-Chinchwad president Mahesh Landge, MLA, said he will ask all his party corporators to spread awareness about compulsory use of masks in their respective areas. “The BJP will do its bit in this connection…Our corporators will go in their respective areas to create awareness among the masses about the use of masks,” he said.
Appeal to Markaz attendees
The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has appealed to those who had attended Nizamuddin Markaz to come forward and undergo the test for coronavirus.
On Monday, Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “It is noticed that a few citizens from Pimpri-Chinchwad had attended Nizamuddin Markaz. Some of them have come forward, but there are still some who have not. We urge them to…undergo (coronavirus) tests at PCMC hospitals.”
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