With the state government declaring Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) along with other nine municipal corporations considering a higher population of one million as separate administrative units for framing their lockdown rules, the city is likely to have some relaxation in the restrictions than that in other parts of the state due to the slowdown of Covid-19 infection.
While declaring ten municipal corporations as separate entities within their district management authority, the state government has empowered the civic bodies to have their lockdown rules based on the Covid-19 situation. The select municipal corporations should have a positivity rate equal to or less than 10 per cent, and occupancy of total oxygen beds available should be less than 40 per cent to introduce relaxation in lockdown restrictions.
Positivity rate below 10%
Accordingly, the PMC positivity rate has been well below 10 per cent in the last week and has been further reducing every day. The weekly positivity rate last week was 7.69 per cent, and the daily positivity rate has not extended above 10 per cent in the last ten days.
Occupancy of oxygen beds is around 40%
Around 40 per cent of the oxygen beds are occupied in city hospitals of the PMC. The demand for oxygen beds is slowly decreasing. According to the dashboard, the PMC has 3,992 of the 7,235 oxygen beds vacant in city hospitals. In addition, there are 224 ICU beds and 143 ventilator beds available for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in the city hospital. The civic administration is further scaling up the number of oxygen beds in the city.
Essential category stores
Thus, the PMC is likely to relax restrictions and extend the timings of operation of essential category stores from 7am – 11am to 7am – 2pm. This includes grocery stores, fruits and vegetable stores, bakery, shops selling poultry, meat and sea food, optical stores, agriculture equipment and monsoon-related items.
Non-essential category stores
The decision on allowing operations of non-essential category shops, which are stand-alone shops and not inside shopping centres or malls, will be taken by the civic administration. However, their timing should not be more than that of essential category stores and will have to be kept closed on weekends. “The traders have been demanding to extend the timings of essential category stores and allow the opening of non-essential category stores. They are likely to be started due to the improved Covid-19 situation in the city. However, the traders would be asked to strictly follow Covid appropriate behaviour and help contain the spread of viral infection,” said a civic officer.
Relaxation in restrictions on e-commerce
The PMC is likely to allow delivery of non-essential items along with essential items through e-commerce. Some traders of non-essential items had sought action against e-commerce for delivering items despite restrictions put up by the civic body. However, the civic body is likely to allow the delivery of non-essential items through e-commerce.
Public movement restrictions
The citizens will not be allowed to move freely after 3 pm. The movement would be only for medical and other emergency purposes or for home delivery services. Thus, the citizens moving out without any valid reason after 3 pm would face police action.
Limited attendance in offices
All government offices, except those involved directly in corona work can function with 25 per cent attendance. The authority can allow for a higher percentage of attendance if there is a request from the concerned head of the office.
Restrictions in rural part
The villages adjoining the PMC boundaries are likely to continue having the existing restrictions as the positivity rate of rural areas continues to be above 10 per cent, and fewer oxygen beds are vacant. The positivity rate of the entire district is at 10 per cent, but that for rural is at 14 per cent. This might be a problem in PMC as rural area folks would visit the urban area for their needs.