As a complete curfew was implemented in Ahmedabad city from 9 pm Friday until 6 am Monday, Narsanda village in Kheda’s Nadiad block, about 66 kilometres away, slipped into a “self-imposed” lockdown for 10 days from November 19.
The move, Dr Bhavesh Rana, the in-charge of Narsanda primary healthcare centre (PHC), said was largely driven by coronavirus-related “rumours” in the village. Dr S M Dev, the Chief District Health Officer of Kheda, however, said the “self-imposed” lockdown was partly a fallout of the “Ahmedabad impact” where unrestricted movement of people led to a rapid rise in cases.
“Also, in the initial months (of the nationwide lockdown) we had carried out Covid-19 tests in the neighbouring Kanjari village and several people were found positive for the virus. This, too, made Narsanda villagers cautious,” Dev said.
Narsanda village, which has around 2,000 households, has recorded 26 Covid-19 cases so far, of which four are currently active.
“Prior to Diwali, there were some rumours circulating that hundreds of villagers had tested positive for Covid-19. The village sarpanch told us that there are 100 cases in the village,” Rana said.
According to Rana, surveillance activities and regular testing camps are on in the village since April. “What we have seen is cases of cough, cold and seasonal influenza (H1N1) — some of the symptoms for these diseases are similar to that of Covid-19. Some people also got tested at private hospitals/clinics and around five or six of them tested positive. Post-Diwali we again conducted antigen tests and of the total 94 people who were tested only one was found positive for the virus,” Rana added.
On Saturday, Sarpanch Kalpeshbhai Patel said the “self-imposed” lockdown had a “better compliance and cooperation” rate among the people as compared to the earlier (nationwide) government-imposed lockdown.
“Every day, shops open at 8 am and operate till 11 am. Exactly 11 am the shutters come down. No one has to be told or coaxed for it as we had to during the earlier lockdown. In the evening, the shops remain open from 5 pm to 8 pm. We thought it would be better if we exercised some control, given the cases and the rumours. We imposed these rules from November 19 and decided to observe a self-imposed lockdown for the next 10 days. If we feel safe, we will resume the usual schedule, else we will see if we need to extend this,” Kalpeshbhai said.
The sarpanch said his wife had tested positive nearly a fortnight ago. “I have got tested 19 times, from both private and public health facilities, and the modes of testing included antigen tests, RT-PCR tests and chest scans,” Kalpeshbhai said, adding that the nature of his work and activities made him susceptible to the infection.
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