As Covid cases dropped to a six-month low in the state and nearly 92 per cent beds vacant in Ahmedabad Covid hospitals, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has relinquished the largest Covid care facility in the city — Gujarat University’s Samras Hostel that was occupied since April 11,2020.
The decision came a day after the state government announced to reopen schools and colleges from January 11.
Confirming the development, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar said, “Since there were no patients, it is not appropriate to keep the hostel building blocked as Covid care centre. The building has been handed back to the Gujarat University.”
Kumar added that the facility was never closed since April, despite a declining number of cases in city. “If cases go up again, we will acquire it overnight,” he added.
The Samras centre served as a facility for asymptomatic patients and had over 5050 patients so far. With a capacity of 1,400 beds, it was one of the largest Covid care centres in Ahmedabad that was fully occupied when cases peaked last year. The last patient discharged from here was on December 27.
The Gujarat University is gearing up to reopen on January 11 and a meeting was held to analyse the preparedness. “We will welcome the students with a welcome kit, comprising sanitiser, face masks, writing pad and pen on the first day. We want to encourage students to be a part of formal education or on-campus classes,” GU Vice-Chancellor Himanshu Pandya said.
As per the fresh Government Resolution (GR) issued by the education department on Thursday for the reopening of colleges and universities, if the hostel facility is opened for students, only one student should be allowed in a room.
However, Pandya said that as per the standard operating procedures laid out by the Centre, hostels will not be opened till January 30. As per the GR, the institutes have been asked to prepare seating arrangement ensuring social distancing norms.
The Gujarat University has asked all its affiliated colleges and departments to submit a plan on how the re-opening will be implemented following all the safety precautions and Covid guidelines. The University, with over 12,000 on-campus students, has planned to encourage postgraduate students of science faculties and those requiring practical assistance over other faculties like languages. “These are nearly 4,000-5,000 students for which we have to prepare,” Pandya added.
Apart from Samras hostel, the AMC has also released Tapi, the EWS Housing Society complex in East Zone’s Nikol area with a capacity of 500 beds, and a Railway facility at Sabarmati railway station with a capacity of 218. With a continuous decline in cases, Ahmedabad reported 133 cases on Thursday.
Gujarat, where a little more than 650 new cases of Covid-19 are being reported each day since Monday and fewer than five fatalities, is seeing a nearly six-month low in its daily surge.
As per the data shared by principal health secretary Jayanti Ravi on Wednesday, of the total 7,992 beds available in Ahmedabad city, 606 are occupied or over 92 per cent beds are vacant. The occupancy of critical beds in AMC-requisitioned private hospitals has also dropped to 15 per cent.
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