“At the civic general body meeting held earlier in the month, I had predicted that Covid-19 cases will rise to between 2,000 and 3,000. In the next few days, we expect the number of cases to touch the 3,000 mark,” Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar told The Indian Express.
In the one month since Pimpri-Chinchwad was classified a non-Red Zone city, it has seen Covid-19 cases spike. From 274 cases on May 22, the city now has 2,100 cases, a jump of over 700 per cent in a month.
Hardikar, however, said “unlocking” the city was not the only reason behind the spike. Another key reason was increase in testing capacity, he said. “We had some infrastructure issues which we have sorted out now. We are testing more people than before…,” he said.
Assuring that the situation was under control, the PCMC chief said, “After the continued rise in cases by month end, the number will start coming down as we will test more people and quarantine them..”.
Of the over 2,000 Covid-19 cases, nearly 1,300 cases have been reported from slums and chawls. “This is the third major reason for the spike… because of the high density of population and congested nature of slums, social distancing norms are not strictly adhered to, leading to a surge,” said Hardikar.
“With increased testing capacity, isolation of the affected and mass awareness initiatives, we are confident the number of cases will come down,” he said.
Pimpri-Chinchwad has so far seen 60 deaths of Covid-19 patients. Of these, 35 were from Pimpri-Chinchwad and 25 from outside the city limits. These deaths have been primarily reported from YCM Hospital, a dedicated Covid hospital. There are 792 active cases in civic hospitals and centres. As many as 1,197 patients have been discharged.
PCMC Additional Municipal Commissioner Santosh Patil pointed out that the very first coronavirus case of Maharashtra was detected in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “Three cases were detected on March 10. They were related to international travel. Since then, in 100 days, we have crossed the 2,000 mark. In the initial days, there were four or five cases… the spike started in the second half of May… the rise was expected after we relaxed the lockdown norms…,” he said
Hardikar said most of the cases have been reported from containment zones. “We have had nearly 150 containment zones as of today. Though we have removed 110 containment zones, more keep coming up…,” he said.
Meanwhile, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited YCM Hospital on Tuesday, praised the PCMC administration. “I have gone around the hospital, and collected information from PCMC commissioner and the YCMH dean regarding positive cases, patient management and the overall battle against Covid-19. They have taken several steps to contain the situation and have achieved some success as well,” said Fadnavis.
When asked whether there should be another lockdown, Fadnavis said,”I don’t think the situation warrants another lockdown. The protocol and efforts that were made during the lockdown should be replicated during the unlockdown period. There should be increased awareness. People are mentally not prepared for another lockdown. Instead of going back into lockdown, we should learn to live with the infection and take steps to prevent it”.
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