Travel to affected countries in last 1 month will attract quarantine: Pune district admin

Passengers to be taken to a quarantine facility set up by PMC

Every airline passenger arriving in Pune on an international flight, and with a history of travel to seven countries most affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID 2019) pandemic, will be put in a 14-day quarantine, even if they do not show any symptoms of the disease, the district administration said on Thursday.

Pune airport has only one international connection as of now, to Dubai. Ten flights from Dubai arrive in Pune every week. Between 150 and 250 passengers arrive on these flights every day. One such flight is scheduled to arrive late on Thursday night and another early Friday morning.

Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said all passengers arriving on the Dubai flight would be screened at the Pune airport, and if they have any travel history to China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain or Germany in the last one month, they would be taken to a quarantine facility set up by the Pune Municipal Corporation.

Pune airport director Kuldip Singh said travel history of passengers on the international flight was already being collected since March 6, and anyone reporting any health problem was being referred to Naidu hospital. The passengers were being specifically asked to state whether they had visited any of these seven countries, he said. So far, 1,342 passengers coming on these flights had been screened at the airport, and their travel history collected.

“One copy of the self-reporting form filled up by incoming passengers is being submitted to the health officer. Based on the information provided, and screenings conducted at the airport, if need be, they are being referred to Naidu hospital,” he said. After passengers from the international flight leave the arrival area, the entire area is being sanitised to reduce the possibility of infection, he said.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said health officials have been asked to keep a close watch on areas near housing societies where the people who have tested positive for the disease live, to ensure early detection of any transmission of the disease. He said the eight positive cases (the ninth case was declared later in the evening) live in four different areas of the city, and health officials have been asked to monitor hospitals and clinics in the area for anyone reporting suspicious symptoms.

He also appealed to people, especially senior citizens who are more vulnerable to the disease, to avoid shopping malls, theatres and crowded places in general.

“We can’t impose a ban on large gatherings but we appeal to private parties not to hold them. The government itself will not hold any public functions till further notice. We also appeal to people not to come to Pune right now for leisure travel,” said Mhaiskar.

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