Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday directed the Pune district administration to strictly impose fines against residents who are venturing outside without masks. He also directed the administration to appoint an IAS officer as the ‘Testing officer’ to ensure fast and timely testing of suspected Covid-19 patients.
Pawar gave the directive while conducting a Covid-19 control review meeting at the Pune Council Hall on Friday, which was attended by senior officials from Pune as well as Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister Ajoy Mehta, Principal Secretary of Public Health Department Dr Pradeep Kumar Vyas, and Secretary, Medical Education and FDA, Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, among others.
Apart from advising strict implementation of rules in containment zones, such as compulsory use of masks, Pawar also directed the administration to ensure that patients of both Covid-19 and other ailments are treated effectively in hospitals. “We have heard some complaints that doctors are avoiding visits to Covid-19 units inside hospitals. Such doctors will face action,” said Pawar.
Last month, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had started implementing a rule to impose a fine of Rs 500 on those found without masks in public places. The state government has also issued guidelines to penalise citizens caught without masks, and spitting in public spaces.
Pawar also said that with residents of urban areas travelling to rural parts, the infection has spread to interior areas of the state, and it was important to check the travellers at the time of their entry in villages.
“Police should ensure that those who travel to rural areas, from cities with a high patient count, are tested. Local community leaders can help with this. Also, industrial units which have opened now should ensure that workers stay within the premises and don’t travel outside. While working, all the directives to prevent spread of the virus such as use of face masks, sanitisation of hands and social distancing, should be followed,” said Pawar.
Mehta said the IAS officer, who will be appointed as ‘testing officer’, should ensure that enough tests are done in a timely manner. “The results of the tests should be obtained within 24 hours,” said Mehta.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar summarised the Covid-19 situation in the Pune Division. He also informed the attendees that the use of antigen test kits has started in Pune district.
Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram said the Pune Zilla Parishad has set up a call centre to spread information about Covid-19 and clarify confusions and queries of residents. “Residents of rural areas can call up on these numbers and get their queries answered. Also, the administration uses these helplines to collect information about implementation of containment plans,” said Ram.
Those without masks to be fined in Pune rural areas
Pune Zilla Parishad on Friday also issued an order about imposing a fine on those not wearing masks in public places, and those caught spitting. A cash fine of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 will be implemented for the violations, respectively.
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