'Mini lockdown' in Pune: 6 pm-6 am curfew from April 3; restaurants, bars and malls to be closed for a week
'Mini lockdown' in Pune: 6 pm-6 am curfew from April 3; restaurants, bars and malls to be closed for a week

Mumbai: To rein in the spiralling number of Covid cases, the Pune district administration has announced a mini lockdown from April 3. The mini lockdown will be a 12-hour night curfew, in effect from 6pm to 6am daily. “There will be a 12-hour night curfew from 6pm to 6am in Pune from tomorrow, April 3. Situation will be reviewed next Friday,” said Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao. The decision was taken after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the Pune district guardian minister, chaired a review meeting on Friday. He had announced last week that there would be a decision on the lockdown based on the ground situation.

Essential services have been exempted from 6pm to 6am curfew.

All religious places in the district will remain completely closed for the next seven days while schools and other educational institutions will remain shut till April 30. Bars, hotels and restaurants will remain closed for the next seven days. However, home delivery of items will be permitted.

No public function, except funerals and weddings, will be allowed; a maximum of 20 people can attend funerals and 50 can be present at weddings. “Order to come into effect from tomorrow (Saturday),” said Rao. All political, social, and cultural events will be completely prohibited in the city for the next seven days.

Further, the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited’s (PMPML) bus service will remain shut for the next seven days. The administration has defended its decision but BJP MP Girish Bapat has strongly opposed it, saying that it would adversely affect the working class, making it hard for them to reach work. “If the workers cannot report to their industrial units then there is every possibility that these units will close down. They should be allowed to travel by PMPML buses on their valid identity cards,” said Bapat.

Rao said the situation would be reviewed after seven days when further decisions would be taken. According to him, efforts were on to increase the number of beds in hospitals in the district. “Since vaccination is the key to bring down the impact of infection, the speed of giving vaccines will be increased in the coming days,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pawar has urged the people to strictly observe COVID-19 norms. He further said that the administration would focus on further strengthening the health infrastructure and providing timely treatment to the patients amid the surge in infections.

Pawar has asked the administration to increase daily testing, beds, oxygen supply and ventilators. He said that asymptomatic patients are allowed to home-quarantine but asked the administration to ensure that the approval was subject to strict observance of all Covid norms.

The Pune administration’s decision comes a day after a record 8,025 new cases and 18 deaths were reported on April 1. The total number of progressive cases stands at 544,287, including 8,392 deaths. The district has an active caseload of 64,599.

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