2 women, infant die in Pune

Trains, roads in Mumbai remain crowded


The two women victims were 37-year-old Archana Kolhe and 75-year-old Bharti Goyal. While Archana died in Sassoon General Hospital, Bharati Goyal died in the KEM Hospital.

Meanwhile, 48-year Gautam Shelar, whose death on Wednesday was attributed to swine flu, had not been infected by the H1N1 virus, it was officially declared on Thursday.

His throat swab had been sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) on Wednesday, and the report came negative. However, the report was obtained only on Thursday, a day after Shelar’s death.

Meanwhile, the first day of restrictions in Mumbai on Thursday saw the usual crowds of office-goers in suburban trains and traffic jams on roads. Only school buses and schoolchildren were conspicuously absent. Swine flu has claimed 14 lives in Maharashtra so far, with two of them in Mumbai. Theatres and multiplexes here have been closed for four days.

On Thursday, few people exercised precaution like wearing ordinary but colourful face masks. Some tied handkerchiefs on their faces, some women used dupattas or scarves. Seema Thakar, a web-designer from Borivali, said: “Mumbaikars are tough and hardy. They have been through so my crises in the past, swine flu is just one more. They take everything in their stride and go about their routine.”

Restricted closure
Gloom, however, pervades the 100 multiplexes and around 90 single-screen cinema halls, which have been shut down till Sunday. The cinema halls wore a deserted look, barring people who turned up to get a refund on their bookings during the four-day period of the ban. With the restricted closure in the city –– schools, colleges and cinema halls –– most students have decided to take it easy for a week, though they do not plan outings or picnics in view of the flu.

Medicos have reported a spurt in anxious patients who suspect they have symptoms of swine flu.“I get many people with ordinary symptoms of common cold, cough and fever which can be treated with normal medicines. It needs a lot of counselling to convince them that they may not be afflicted with swine flu,” said Himanshu Modi, a harried medico from Kandivli.

Despite the scare in Pune, where the maximum casualties have been reported, public taxis and buses to Mumbai have not seen a drop in traffic. However, private taxi operators have noticed up to 25 percent drop in passengers, especially on the Mumbai-Goa sector and other seaside destinations on the Konkan coast.

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