PUNE: Like Dharavi in Mumbai, slum pockets located under Pune's Bhavani Peth and Kasba Vishrambaug areas among others have emerged as coronavirus hotspots accounting for majority of over 300 COVID-19 cases so far, officials said on Tuesday.
Densely-populated slum pockets in Bhavani Peth and under Kasba Vishrambaug and Dhole Patil ward offices have reported at least 158 COVID-19 cases, they said.
Out of the total 34 deaths in Pune district till Monday, 11 fatalities were reported from Bhavani Peth area alone, which includes some slum pockets, the civic body said.
On Tuesday, the COVID-19 death toll in Pune district rose to 38 with four fresh fatalities.
Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad told PTI that Bhavani Peth and other adjoining 'peths' (old congested areas with narrow lanes) have been sealed off and turned into containment zones to check the spread of coronavirus.
"As a part of containment measures to stop the spread of the virus, our health teams are conducting house surveys in these localities.
They have so far traced more than 300 people with minor symptoms from various slums and houses located in narrow lanes. They are being tested for the infection," he said.
Gaikwad attributed the spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths from localities like Bhavani Peth to factors like concentration of population in a small geography, congested living conditions, lack of medical knowledge among people, to name a few.
"We have been asking people living in the slums to shift to the institutional quarantine as it is difficult for them to follow social distancing norms.
"Unfortunately, most of the people are not ready to leave comfort of their homes," he said.
Besides 78 COVID-19 cases being reported from Bhavani Peth area so far, areas under Kasba Vishrambaug Ward office have reported 41 cases till Monday and those under Dhole Patil ward office 39 cases.
Meanwhile, Health officials said that the four persons --three women and a man--who succumbed to COVID-19 disease in Sassoon Hospital on Tuesday had underlying health conditions.
While the age of the women victims ranged from 42 to 77 years, the male was 27-year-old, they said.
The deceased women were suffering from health conditions such as hypertension, Asthma and kidney-related ailments, while the man had alcohol-related liver ailment.
Dharavi in Mumbai, one of the biggest slum settlement in Asia, has reported 55 coronavirus positive cases so far till Tuesday with seven deaths.