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‘Data should dictate lockdown decision’: Business community in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad seek relaxations

A sero-surveillance study conducted by DY Patil Medical College in Pimpri Chinchwad has found that almost 80 per cent of the respondents have shown IgG antibodies against the Covid-19 virus.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
July 5, 2021 9:13:13 am
Police personnel check for violation of Covid norms in Pune. (Express Photo: Arul Horizon)

The Maharashtra government’s decision to re-introduce a partial lockdown in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad has come under criticism from many stakeholders, who cite mounting economic losses owing to the previous shutdowns.

The Pune Platform for Covid Response, citing a recent sero-surveillance report of Pimpri Chinchwad has urged the government to relax the restrictions. Sudhir Mehta, president of the Mahrattta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) asked the state government to allow businesses to operate normally.

The state government had rolled back various relaxations it had given to business establishments in the two aforesaid areas apprehending a spread of the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19. As such, restaurants have been ordered to stop dine-in services by 4 pm while malls have been shut again barely two weeks after they were allowed to open. Maharashtra is one of the states which have reported the delta plus variant in the country.

Mehta pointed out at the sero-surveillance study conducted by the DY Patil Medical College in Pimpri Chinchwad which found that almost 80 per cent of the respondents have shown IgG antibodies against the virus. Similarly, the survey also showed that chances of reinfection is low even from those who had got the virus in the second wave which is said to have been caused by the more virulent Delta variant. Vaccination, Mehta said, is also progressing at a fast pace.

“Data should dictate the decision for opening up businesses, especially malls and restaurants. The logic of a 4 pm shutdown does not hold much water as the general population seems to have got antibodies against the virus. In this regard, the decision to have a partial lockdown would just add to the economic hardships of the people,” he added.

Shorter working hours, he said, adds to crowding. “Malls should be allowed to admit vaccinated people after checking the status on the Arogya Setu app,” he added.

Abhay Bhor, the president of the Forum of Small Scale Industries, said that despite vaccination progressing at a good pace, their demand for a special camp for the sector in Pimpri Chinchwad or Chakan is yet to be met. “We have demanded a 25 per cent reservation for the workers in the camps which are held in the industrial areas. However, that has not been done yet,” he added.

Another sector which Mehta said needs to be opened up was education. From Monday onwards, the platform is going to hold special efforts to vaccinate college students. “We would like to collaborate with the universities to get their students vaccinated. Once that is done, they can get back to their classes in about two months’ time,” he added.

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