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Pune city, rural areas may see Covid restrictions easing as test positivity rate comes down

PMC may go down to Level-2 as per Maharashtra government's five-level unlock plan, rural areas to Level-3; Pimpri-Chinchwad may remain under present restrictions.

Covid-19 restrictions in Pune city and Pune rural may see relaxations from Monday onwards given both the areas have been on a declining curve in test positivity rate (TPR).

On Wednesday, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) recorded a TPR of 4.6 as only 311 out of 6758 samples tested positive in 24 hours. With TPR coming down to less than five from 6.5 on June 6, Pune city may come down to Level-2 of restrictions.

The TPR in Pune rural (gram panchayat and municipal councils) is 9.2 with 692 out of 7485 samples testing positive, also showing a significant dip from the June 6 value of 13.4. Pune rural, earlier in Level-4, may now be placed in Level-3.

However, Pimpri-Chinchwad may remain in Level-3 as its TPR has come down only slightly to 6.3 from 7 earlier. On Wednesday, 314 samples out of 1769 tested positive in PCMC.

As per the Maharashtra government’s five-level unlock plan unveiled last week, each administrative unit is placed in five tiers of restrictions based on TPR and oxygen-bed occupancy.

Level-1 (TPR of five and oxygen-bed occupancy of less than 25 per cent) will have the least restrictions while Level-5 (TPR more than 20 and oxygen-bed occupancy greater than 75 per cent) will have the most.

Administrative units with TPR of five and oxygen-bed occupancy between 25 and 40 per cent fall under Level-2. Those with TPR between five and 10 and oxygen bed occupancy greater than 40 per cent fall under Level-3. Areas with TPR between 10 and 20 and oxygen-bed occupancy greater than 60 come under Level-4.

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Every Thursday, the public health department would declare the number of oxygen beds occupied at the state level as well as test positivity rate and oxygen-bed occupation in each district. Thereafter, the district disaster management authority would decide which level of restrictions should be imposed in each administrative unit.

If there is any change to the level of restrictions, it will come into effect from the following Monday. However, the decision whether or not to open an area lies with the local administration which may consider other factors too.

A senior officer in the administration said that administrative units may not go for reducing the restrictions so they may err on the side of caution. Also, the final deliberations on this topic may take place at the Covid-19 review meeting under Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar scheduled for Friday, he said.

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