Deputy Chief Minister and Pune Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday urged the district administration to follow the ‘Baramati pattern’ to check the spread of COVID-19 and reduce positive cases in Pune city. Seven more deaths and 75 new cases were reported from the district, a majority of them being from the city.
Mr. Pawar, who reviewed the situation in the city with Pune district and civic body authorities, said the State is planning to revive economic activity in zones that have hitherto escaped the scourge of the contagion.
“Apart from cities like Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Malegaon [in Nashik district], and Aurangabad, which have been classified as ‘red zones’ on account of a high number of COVID-19 cases being reported from there, the State is thinking of reviving economic activity and industries in other parts of Maharashtra, especially in rural areas,” Mr. Pawar said.
He urged officials to enforce strict lockdown measures in Pune city as had been implemented in Baramati in rural Pune — the bastion of the Pawar clan — in order to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
The district’s cumulative death toll rose to 99 on Friday, while the number of active positive cases surged to 1,375. As many as 95 of these deaths have been reported from Pune city and rural areas, and four from Pimpri-Chinchwad.
“The number of active positive cases in Pune district — which comprises Pune city, Pune rural, and Pimpri-Chinchwad — stands at 1,375, while the total cases recorded till date [which includes the numbers of those discharged and the deaths] is at 1,783,” Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said.
As many as 76 of these 1,375 cases were ‘critical’, he said, adding the total active cases in Pune division — which consists of Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur districts besides Pune — stood at 1,519, while the total death toll in Pune division was at 109.
Besides Pune district reporting 99 deaths, Solapur has reported six, Satara has recorded two, while Sangli and Kolhapur have reported one fatality each.
Of the seven new fatalities recorded in Pune district on Friday, six were in Pune city while one was at Haveli taluk in Pune rural region.
In the first case, an 80-year-old woman from Kavadi Malwadi was admitted to Sassoon General Hospital on April 29 after being referred by Yash Hospital in Malwadi, where she had been undergoing treatment since April 26. “She passed away on Thursday at 11.45 p.m. after suffering from bilateral pneumonia (infection of both lungs) and obstructive uropathy. Her test sample report, which was awaited at the time of death, later returned positive,” Pune zilla parisahd CEO Ayush Prasad said.
He said the second COVID-19 fatality in Sassoon was of a 65-year-old man, believed to a chronic alcoholic, who was admitted to hospital on April 21. “The patient had tested positive on April 22, and died on Friday morning.”
A third fatality, that of a 71-year-woman, who was a resident of Tadiwala road and believed to be suffering from co-morbidities, was reported from Sassoon Hospital.
The fourth death was that of a 75-year-old man from Siddharth Nagar, who succumbed during treatment at Symbiosis University Hospital and Research Centre. “The patient had been admitted on April 18 and had tested positive. The cause of death was fungal sepsis coupled with renal dysfunction,” a health official said.
A 68-year-old man from Nana Peth hospital, who had tested positive on April 28, died at Bharti hospital, while the hospital also reported the death of another COVID-19 positive 75-year-old man from Parvathi (which is one of the ‘highly-infected’ zones).
A 51-year-old man, who was a resident of Yerwada and had tested positive recently, expired in KEM Hospital.
Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said there seems to be some confusion regarding ‘relaxation’ of lockdown rules prevailing among people residing in Aundh, Baner and Kothrud, which are currently classified as the ‘green zones’.
“We may consider some grocery stores to remain open in these areas for a longer time or some other essential services. Either way, the Centre has extended the lockdown till May 17. So those regulations apply to all zones within the city,” Mr. Gaikwad said, adding IT professionals would be continuing with the work-from-home arrangement.