With new cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) getting detected in the city almost every day, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday directed all schools and colleges in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to remain closed till further notice. The district administration said the order would not apply to ongoing Class X and XII examinations, which students would be allowed to take as scheduled.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said the chief minister’s directive was being immediately put into action in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. “However, we advise parents to look after the children so that they don’t roam around unsupervised. Parents should ensure that they remain indoors. Schools and colleges too will soon receive instructions from us,” said Mhaisekar.
He also said that as the Disaster Management Act was in force, theatres, swimming pools, multiplexes and gymnasiums will remain closed in Pune. Also, he said private companies were being advised to let their employees work from home. “Wherever possible, companies should allow employees to work from home in view of the coronavirus threat,” he said.
Meanwhile, tour operators have begun sharing data with the district administration about travellers who had visited the worst-affected countries in the last one month. The district administration has so far received a list of about 170 persons who are known to have travelled to these countries. Officials said all these persons will be contacted and screened to ensure that they are not carrying the virus.
“There are 200 tour operators in the city. They have furnished us this list of persons who visited abroad,” said District Collector Naval Kishore Ram. He said the administration had also instructed four-star and five-star hotels to provide latest information about foreign nationals who had stayed with them in recent weeks.
“We have been receiving the information but since these many of these people have already left, there is very little that can be done,” said Ram.
The district collector had held a meeting with office-bearers of various associations of tour operators and hoteliers in the city on Thursday, and asked them to provide these details.
Deepak Mhaisekar said that district administrations of Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Solapur have been instructed to create isolation wards, quarantine capacity and a management plan at the local hospitals to take care of detections, if and when they happen.
“At present, we don’t have any confirmed cases in these areas. We had asked these districts to provide information about residents who had travelled abroad recently. Kolhapur has informed us that there were 44 such people in its jurisdiction, Sangli has six, Satara has nine and Solapur has six. We are contacting them and facilitating their screening,” he said.
Mhaisekar said the administration will aggressively pursue each and every case and all the aspects of preventive care till the last suspected case is taken care of. “Soon, the administration will launch a massive awareness campaign. We are in touch will telephone service providers and we will reach about 8 lakh cell phone customers by sending an audio message. Those who have returned will get a separate advisory of conduct,” he said.
Mhaisekar said that the state Legal Metrology Department has conducted raids at four medical shops in the city and taken action against three sellers for overcharging customers who purchased sanitisers and masks.
“Chemists are directed that they should not indulge in any misadventure of overcharging customers for any medical good, including sanitisers,” said Mhaisekar.
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