Coronavirus in Pune: 2020 felt like a Shakespearean catharsis for Puneities
Pune reported its first COVID-19 case in MarchImage source: IANS

Coronavirus in Pune: 2020 felt like a Shakespearean catharsis for Puneities

From the first case of coronavirus in the state to being the city which gave them hope of COVID-19 vaccine, Pune has seen it all.

Pune: Pune, the second-largest city in the state has always been top in every sector, be it business, or culture or fashion to the incidence of infectious illnesses. Yes, you read it right. Pune became the epicentre of the swine flu outbreak in 2009 as it reported the first case of the deadly virus in Maharashtra. It was the same for COVID-19 after the state witnessed its first case in Pune on March 9.

Pune, the cultural capital of the state, has witnessed troubling days for the past nine months. From the first case of coronavirus in the state to being the city which gave them hope of COVID-19 vaccine, Pune has seen it all. Here's the timeline of Pune's COVID-19 spread scenario:


Pune witnessed Maharashtra's first COVID case on March 9. A couple returning from Dubai tested positive for novel coronavirus. It followed by three people who had come in contact with them. Pune welcomed the spread of COVID-19.

Since lockdown in March, Pune at some point was the worst-hit district in India. During the peak of COVID-19 spread, Pune witnessed several cases through May-August when district reported over 3,000 cases per day.


With an unexpected rise in the spread of COVID-19 cases, the administration at multiple times failed to tackle the situation. The health infrastructure was overburdened. There were many incidents when the administration failed to provide ICU and oxygenated beds. When the availability of beds was next to zero, the situation was prone and proved fatal at many times. A long-planned to construct Pune's Jumbo Hospital was implemented in August. Though the hospital was built, it did not hire any additional health personnel. The advertisements for doctors and nursing staff remained on paper.

After two-three months, the Jumbo Hospital chalked out a plan for the better treatment of COVID-19 patients. Along with the Pune district administration, PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation), police, hospitals in the city, NGOs, social representatives, media played a vital role during these nine difficult months. During this time, the COVID-19 forced the city to report a large-scale migration of workers, unfixed termination of educational institutes and financial effect.

Role of NIV

Pune also helped India in tackling the contagion as the National Institute of Virology (NIV) was the first lab to test the samples of people. In the early stage, the NIV also gave support to the associate labs in India. NIV currently is one of the few designated laboratories in India, where genome sequencing of samples of COVID-19 positive people who had returned from the UK is being done. This process is done to check if the new strain found in the samples of these passengers.

Hope of COVID-19 vaccine

When the infection was surging in the district, a pharmaceutical giant Serum Institute of India (SII), was developing a vaccine named 'Covishield', giving a hope that dark clouds never stay long. Serum partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Today, it is one of the top contenders in India for the development of the vaccine. The phase-II clinical trials of Covishield started at different hospitals and medical colleges in the city four months back. Serum in December applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) requesting emergency use authorisation of the vaccine in India. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also visited SII in November to review the progress of the vaccine. As the world is contending with the crisis, all eyes are now on the vaccine.

2020, the year a small (although mighty) virus took over the globe. Unexpectedly, an 'acchhoo' began to raise eyebrows. Now after nine months, Puneities are gearing up for 2021. Let us take a pledge to leave behind the negative energies of the past and move on!

Happy New Year in advance!

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