A day after the Nagpur Administration announced a seven-day strict lockdown from March 15 to March 21, the Pune district administration on Friday announced a few restrictions to curb public movement, crowding, the operation of business establishments at night. But it is not being officially called a lockdown. Pune district has the maximum number of active Covid-19 cases in India, according to health ministry data. Apart from Pune City taluka, there are 14 talukas in the Pune district. These new curbs will be applicable to all those areas.
Schools and colleges of the district will remain shut till March 31. Hotels and restaurants will be allowed to remain open till 10pm, with 50 per cent seating capacity. The authorities will have to display the number of people seated inside at any given time.
There will be a night curfew between 11pm and 6am. Without calling it a curfew, the administration is saying that citizens will not be permitted to roam around the roads unnecessarily. Weddings, funerals will be allowed to take place but with only 50 persons. While morning walkers are allowed to take a stroll, parks will remain shut in the evening. Mall and multiplexes won’t be allowed to operate after 11pm.
The administration has also taken the decision to approach the central government to increase vaccine doses for Pune.
“Medical experts have given the opinion that the best way to reduce Corona spread is to increase the vaccination rate. At present, about 22,500 people are being given the vaccines which can be increased to one lakh per day if we get more vaccine doses and increase the vaccination centres”, he added.
According to Union health ministry data on Thursday, Pune district has 18,474 active Covid-19 cases. On Thursday, the district reported 2,840 fresh infections.
The overall Covid-19 situation in Maharashtra turned serious since the middle of February. The spike is not concentrated in Pune or Nagpur or any specific region. Pandemic fatigue, laxity in tracking testing, flouting of social distancing norms, municipal elections are being blamed for the spike.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has clarified that he is not in favour of lockdown. But at the same time, district authorities have been asked to take steps, including ‘lockdown’, to contain the spread of the infections. Since announcing lockdown goes against the spirit of the Maharashtra government’s ‘Mission Begin Again’, district authorities are not officially announcing lockdown, but are bringing back restrictions.
Niti Aayog member (health) VK Paul on Thursday suggested that people in the areas where the second wave is being seen can be prioritized for vaccination.
Pune city wants its adults to get vaccinated on priority. “As Pune city is witnessing a rise in active cases and daily count of infections is also high, the authorities plan to send a proposal to the Centre seeking a policy decision to inoculate people above the age of 18 in Pune, as an exception,” the official told.