Three more persons in the city have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the tally of positive cases in Maharashtra to five, said State health officials on Tuesday.
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The daughter of the Pune couple, who tested positive on Monday, a co-passenger and the Ola cab driver who ferried the couple from the Mumbai airport to Pune on their return from Dubai on March 1, were the latest to test ‘positive’, said Dr. Pradip Awate, State epidemiologist.
As of now, all five positive cases in the State are from Pune.
“All five persons including the couple, their daughter, a co-passenger who hailed from Yavatmal district and the Ola cab driver who ferried the couple, have been placed in isolation in Pune’s Naidu Hospital after their samples that were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) tested positive,” Pune district Collector Naval Kishore Ram said, adding that all five individuals were stable and there was no cause for concern.
In addition, the samples of two other family members had also been sent to the NIV for tests, said Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar.
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Saying the couple who tested positive were stable, he said the district administration was tracking the tour group of 40 persons who were with the couple on their trip to Dubai.
At present, six persons including the couple, three of their kin and the Ola driver are in isolation at the Naidu Hospital.
“The Pune couple had travelled to Dubai in the last week of February and were part of a 40-member tour group. They returned to India on March 1. One of the two started showing symptoms of infection and were referred to Naidu hospital for a check-up on March 8. Their samples were sent to the NIV and both tested positive. As Dubai was not in the list of the affected places given out by the Centre, the passengers could not be checked and separated at the airport itself,” Dr. Mhaisekar said.
To track down the persons with whom the couple had travelled to Dubai and with those who came in contact with them in the past week, five teams comprising officials from the police, health and revenue departments, as well as authorities from both the Pune and the Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies had been formed, he said.
“The administration is also listing down people who came in contact with the couple at their workplace or the areas where they visited following their return to Pune to keep a check on them too. The immediate family of the couple, their relatives and co-workers at their office would also be checked for any signs of infection in the coming days,” he said, while appealing to people to keep calm and not panic.
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Dr. Mhaisekar also said both the Pune and the Pimpri-Chinchwad civic administrations had increased their isolation bed capacity to 207 across 21 hospitals in the PMC and the PCMC.
He also advised private doctors to take note of their patients’ travel history.
Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said the civic authorities were trying to make provisions for a further 200 isolation beds to combat the scare.
“I think we are well-equipped to fight the virus. I urge people to keep calm. We are trying to contact people who may have come in touch with the infected couple on their return to India from Dubai on March 1,” Mr. Gaikwad said.