As death toll by swine flu mounted to 230 on Thursday, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani visited hospitals in Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot and urged people not to panic. At least 10 people died on Thursday, with three deaths reported from Ahmedabad city.
Rupani, who was accompanied by Health Minister Shankar Chaudhary, sought cooperation from people and assured that his government was taking all the measures to alleviate the situation. “There is nothing to panic. People should be aware and not ignore symptoms…With timely treatment it can be cured and we have to make sure the virus is identified immediately,” the Chief Minister said in Ahmedabad after wrapping up the daylong tour.
“If we are able to control swine flu in Rajkot, Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Surat then the total cases will reduce. That is why I visited these places,” he added.
He said that the government will not cancel any fairs or mela. “Those who are unwell should not attend these fairs. We do not want to spread panic,” he said.
Assuring that the government has enough stock of Tamiflu tablets, Rupani rejected claims that the government was under reporting swine flu cases. “We are not under reporting any swine flu figures. We are only giving figures of positive swine flu cases,” the Chief Minister said.
He also said that swine flu patients undergoing treatment in private hospitals will get free medicines. “Private hospitals will be issued notices if they do not ensure that patients are immediately given Tamiflu,” he added.
Earlier in the day, he reached Surat city where at least 14 people have died of swine flu so far this year. After meeting patients at New Civil Hospital, Rupani said: “In order to mitigate the risk from swine flu, the government has released information on symptoms of the disease. We have told ASHA workers to start giving Tamiflu immediately (to the patients) to increase their immunity, so that their condition does not deteriorate. We have sufficient stock of medicines across the state and if anybody finds it difficult to get, they can contact the health department officials.”
Rupani assured adequate availability of oxygen in the hospital, and added that the government has set up labs in Gandhinagar for free testing of samples of suspected swine flu cases as against the earlier practice of sending them to a Pune lab. “There are nine labs in Gujarat that are dealing exclusively with swine flu testing. Now blood samples are not sent to the lab in Pune. We get reports in five hours,” he said.
Noting that out of 2,095 cases of swine flu in the state, 68 per cent were from urban areas, the CM said: “One of the reasons is that cities are crowded. Swine flu is a contagious disease and therefore there are more cases in urban areas. With cooperation from people, we are working towards ensuring that there is minimum casualty. A high power delegation of ministers are holding marathon meetings in all the major cities.”
The CM instructed the local civic body to pay attention to cleanliness during a meeting with Surat Municipal Commissioner M Thennarasan, Mayor Ashmita Shiroya and MLA Harsh Sanghvi.
The CM visited SSG Hospital in Vadodara city where 12 people have died so far. Stating that swine flu disease peaks in July-August, Rupani said, “About 200 people have succumbed to the disease so far, but the government is committed towards reducing the risk arising from the disease.”
CM’s sister down with swine flu
Chief Minister’s sister, Charu Shah, has been diagnosed with swine flu, sources said. She was admitted to Civil hospital in Gandhinagar but was shifted to Zydus Hospital, a private hospital, on Thursday.