Pune Police Launches Whatsapp-based Assistance Initiative During Coronavirus Lockdown
Pune Police has announced an assistance program to facilitate essential travel to hospitals and the airport through a Whatsapp messaging-based service. The city is under a full lockdown to abate the spread of coronavirus. Only emergency and essential services are allowed to operate. While inter-state and inter-city bus services are suspended, domestic air travel is allowed.
The city police made the announcement on Twitter. Citizens can text the police on Whatsapp on the two numbers provided. The police will then evaluate the request and provide the necessary assistance. People travelling to an airport need to provide details of their name, mobile number, flight number, PNR number, destination, and the registration number of the vehicle they plan to commute in.
Maharashtra has more coronavirus cases than any other state in India. Pune and Mumbai are the stateâs largest cities and the authorities have them under a lockdown. The district collector has imposed orders under Section 144 to prevent an assembly of more than five people in any public setting. Cars carrying more than five people are banned, too.Â
Services allowed to operate include hospitals and pharmacies, pathology labs, medical equipment production, grocery shops, online food delivery, ATMs and some banking services, and state and central government activities. Post office employees have to risk the virus to get to work, too.
The new initiative by Pune Police could prove to be effective for owners of private transportation, but it has some security concerns. The idea of private information being circulated among ground personnel through privately-owned smartphones is disconcerting. As an emergency response measure, it remains to be seen how it is implemented.