Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, on Friday, asked the Pune administration to tighten the curbs amidst the rise in COVID-19 cases. However, he put the ball in Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s court to take a final call on total lockdown. Pawar’s announcement came close on the heels of Bombay High Court’s observation that the CM should consider a complete lockdown in Pune, as the cases are rising unabated there.
Pawar held a weekly review meeting and asked the administration to plan for the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. He directed the administration to augment the facilities in order to treat children, who are likely to be infected by the virus.
On the other hand, Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said there is no need for a total lockdown. He added that he would file an affidavit in the HC on the ground situation and alleged that the information submitted by the state government was allegedly to discredit the city. Pawar shot back and asked Mohol to quickly file the affidavit on behalf of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
“The lockdown has yielded good results this week though the number of patients has increased in the rural areas of Pune. The HC has directed to consider strict lockdown. But I don't want to talk too much about it. The CM will take a decision regarding the lockdown in Pune,” said Pawar.
Pawar said citizens between the ages of 18 and 44 want to be vaccinated, but there is a shortage of vaccines. Also, citizens above 45 years of age need to get the second dose of vaccine. “The central government should allow the import of vaccines. I have contacted the Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla in connection with the supply of Covishield. But he is in London and will not return for another 10 to 12 days,” he added.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader reiterated that the central government should not have exported vaccine doses to various countries. They could have been used in the country, where the gap between demand and supply has been increasing.
Meanwhile, Mohol said the situation is improving in PMC limits. Therefore, there is no need for a total lockdown. "The court gives its opinion according to the information presented to it. There are discrepancies in the statistics of the state government. Currently, the situation in Pune city is very good. The number has dropped to 16,000, " he noted.
"There has been a lockdown in Pune since last month. In this situation, the number of positive patients has come down,” he said. He reiterated that the civic body will submit its affidavit in the HC, explaining the present situation. "The facts are different and the figures presented before the court are different. We are trying to find out who presented these figures and how,” said Mohol.