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PMC will declare micro containment zones in four ward office areas if Covid cases don’t drop: Mayor

For the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak in March last year, the PMC had freed the entire city of containment zones from January 1 onwards due to a drop in the number of newly-infected patients.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune |
February 17, 2021 9:47:52 pm
COVID-19 test, Coronavirus testThe PMC currently has 10,000 kits of rapid antigen tests (RATs) and more kits are being procured to scale up the process. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna/Representational)

With the city’s Covid-19 positivity rate having increased over the past few days, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is likely to adopt the strategy of declaring micro containment zones in affected areas of the city, once again, if no slowdown in the spread of the viral infection is recorded in the near future. The civic administration has also been directed to order private hospitals under its jurisdiction to increase the number of beds for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

“The city’s Covid-19 positivity rate increased from 4.6 percent to 12.5 percent over the last few days, while active cases here increased to around 1,700, after going down to 1,300 a few days ago. The spread is increasing, but the situation is under control and the civic health department is prepared to handle the situation. Residents should not be worried, but they need to be careful,” said Mayor Murlidhar Mohol after taking stock of the city’s Covid-19 situation on Wednesday.

For the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak in March last year, the PMC had freed the entire city of containment zones from January 1 onwards due to a drop in the number of newly-infected patients.

Mohol said that a few areas that come under four ward offices of the PMC — of a total 15 — are witnessing an increase in new patients and containment measures need to be increased. “There is no need to worry about the situation, but the increase in new patients is of concern in a few areas that come under Nagar Road, Sinhagad Road, Warje and Bibewadi ward offices. If patients in the affected areas of these ward offices continue to increase, then the PMC will have to declare them as micro containment zones. We are discussing the issue with experts. At present, there is no need to declare a lockdown or micro containment zones in the city,” Mohol said.

“We hope that a situation for the civic administration to reintroduce strict containment measures does not arise. All activities have been resumed and life is returning to normal. Residents should strictly follow preventive measures,” the mayor said, reminding people that the pandemic has not ended yet and action against those not wearing masks in public places will be intensified. A decision with regard to restricting the number of attendees at social functions, such as weddings, will be taken soon, he added.

According to Mohol, 3,000-3,500 swab samples for Covid testing are collected on a daily basis at 17 swab collection centres across the city. “We have decided to increase the testing capacity and get more manpower to increase swab collection centres in the four ward office areas,” he said. The PMC currently has 10,000 kits of rapid antigen tests (RATs) and more kits are being procured to scale up the process.

Mohol further said that sufficient beds are available for the treatment of Covid-19 patients at PMC-run hospitals, but not at the city’s private hospitals. “There are a total of 1,163 beds in civic hospitals and Sassoon Hospital for the treatment of Covid patients. These include ICU beds, oxygen beds and beds without oxygen. Meanwhile, there are around 3,000 beds available with private hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 patients… The civic administration has been given directions to ask private hospitals to increase beds.”

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