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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

17 fresh cases, but Pune officials yet to get it right

Yogesh Joshi, Hindustan Times  Pune, August 06, 2009
First Published: 23:58 IST(6/8/2009) | Last Updated: 00:00 IST(7/8/2009)
Seventeen fresh cases of swine flu were reported in Pune on Thursday.

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Till now, 14 schools have been affected. As a precautionary measure, nine schools from Pune’s cantonment area have been shut down although they have not yet been affected.

CEO of Pune Cantonment Board, D.S. Malik said: “To prevent swine flu from spreading, we have decided to shut them for a week.”

The outbreak of panic in the city after the death of 14-year-old Rida Shaikh on Monday has exposed the state and civic health authorities, who claim “everything is under control”.

On July 14, the first city student — from Abhinav English School — tested positive. The health authorities and school management took almost a week to decide whether to shut it down. By the time, the school’s flu count had hit 15.

A week later, during a visit to the city, Health Minister Rajendra Shingne gave an example of the no-clear policy on schools. “We will see the situation. We may shut down a school if more than three students are affected,” he said.

After Rida’s death, the authorities were supposed to scan every student of her school — St. Anne’s — as promised by the minister. However, till now no action has been taken, and as a result, two of Rida’s friends have contracted the virus.

Vice-principle Nirmala Choudhari claimed that no one has visited the school. 

When Pune’s swine flu count crossed 70, Shingne said private hospitals would be roped in for treatment. Yet again, it was only an announcement. No action has been taken till now. Civic chief Mahesh Zagade said: “Private hospitals are allowed only for screening, not treatment.”


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