Two sex workers in Pune's red-light area - Budhwar Peth - has tested positive for COVID-19. These are the first COVID-19 cases reported in the locality ever since the pandemic broke. Along with the sex workers, three others from the area have also tested positive for the infection, reported Pune Mirror.
Meanwhile, residents and social workers have demanded that the operations of sex workers be suspended until everything comes back to normal. As the area is densely populated and has narrow congested lanes, there is a fear of a possible outbreak.
The social workers have also demanded that Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the district collector provide food and other essential things to ensure the survival of the over-3,000 sex workers in case of the closure of their operations. Reportedly, the city has the country’s fifth-largest collection of brothels.
President of Akhil Budhwar Peth Devdasi Sanstha, Prakash Yadav, said that the sudden closure of the red-light area would cause panic among the sex workers. "So instead of asking them to shut the operation, there is a need to provide them aid, so that they all are able to survive during this difficult time," he added.
District collector Naval Kishore Ram has assured that the area would not be declared as a containment zone due to a couple of cases. Businesses could continue with proper care and precautions, he said. "We will ask the administration to verify the ground reality to take further course of action," he added.
Meanwhile, Pune district reported 1,998 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking its count to 92,880 on Monday, while 45 more patients succumbed to the infection, a health department official said.
The death toll reached 2,129 with 45 more patients succumbing to the infection during the same period in the western Maharashtra district, he said.
Also, 1,822 patients were discharged from various hospitals in the district following recovery, the official said.
"Of the 1,998 cases, 781 were reported from Pune Municipal Corporation limits (the city), which now has 58,304 cases. With 748 cases, Pimpri-Chinchwad's COVID-19 count now stands at 23,682," he said.
The number of positive cases in rural and Pune Cantonment Board areas increased to 10,894, the official added.
(With PTI inputs)