Pune: District Collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh has expressed confidence that in the coming two to three weeks, Pune city will flatten the curve of the COVID-19 case.
Q: Pune city and district areas have the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the state. What are your priorities while addressing this issue?
Dr Deshmukh: The number of COVID-19 tests has been increased in the city for the last one and a half months. More tests are being conducted in Pune than in Mumbai. Therefore, the number of patients in Pune is naturally higher. However, the recovery rate of patients is increasing and it has gone up to 75 per cent. This was possible because of the untiring efforts of the doctors and other staff. Emphasis is being placed on testing, tracking and treatment as per the guidelines of the central and state governments and the World Health Organization to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The death rate in the district is 2.27 per cent, which is lower than the state (3.36 per cent).
Q: You have previously served as Managing Director at Haffkine Biopharma in Mumbai and Director at the Haffkine Research Institute. How can this experience of yours be beneficial for the district?
Dr Deshmukh: The Haffkine Institute was assigned special responsibilities at the state government level after the Covid-19 outbreak began. Ventilators, PPE kits, masks and other medical supplies were made available through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and distributed to the hospitals through the Divisional Commissioners and District Collectors. Also, from July onwards, I had responsibility for coordinating with all the Collectorate offices. Attempts were made to increase the number of tests, including the creation of a new laboratory.
Q: There is a shortage of ventilators and ICU beds, but given the growing number of COVID-19 patients. What measures are you taking in this regard?
Dr Deshmukh: The number of beds is being increased through the creation of jumbo hospital facilities. COVID Care Centres are being set up and efforts are being made to provide adequate ventilators.
Q: When will the Covid-19 outbreak in the district be under control?
Dr Deshmukh: Considering the ICMR study, the findings in Mumbai and the experience of Covid-19 cases in other cities, it seems that the situation in Pune city will come under control in the next two-three weeks.
Follow self-discipline during Ganeshotsav
Self-discipline is an important 'treatment' for COVID-19 while celebrating Ganeshotsav. This year, Ganeshotsav should be celebrated simply by using masks and social distancing. "I welcome the fact that most of the prestigious Ganpati Mandals have decided to celebrate the festival with simplicity," Deshmukh said in reply to a question.