WITH AN aim to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Rajkot, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation has started thermal screening vegetable vendors in the city to monitor their health.
The move comes after a similar one was implemented by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), wherein the civic body started testing vegetable vendors, kirana shopkeepers, pharmacy store owners, workers at petrol pumps, milk shop owners and sanitation workers involved in door-to-door garbage collection, terming them ‘super spreaders’.
Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra had said that of the 4,700 screened, seven had tested positive for coronavirus.
“On April 21, a total of 2,576 superspreaders were screened and 413 samples were collected. The results confirmed three positive. On April 20, 2,165 were screened and 141 samples were collected. Of these, four tested positive. Thus, a total of seven cases were found (sic),” Nehra had said
On April 21, an inspection team in Rajkot identified 110 cases of people not following the precautions to protect themselves from spreading the viral infection. They were penalised Rs 1,000 each, and a total fine amount of Rs 1.10 lakh was collected.
An official release from the RMC said that thermal screening of as many as 219 vegetable vendors was done till Wednesday afternoon. All of them were found to be healthy, the release added. “We started the drive from Tuesday to screen vegetable vendors. We have formed a team comprising 32 Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram officers to move around in the city and conduct thermal screening of vegetable vendors. Initially, we thought of screening them at the Agriculture Market Produce Committee yard, where they gather to purchase vegetables. Later, we decided to screen them on the streets for better surveillance,” said Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Ayush Agrawal.
Vegetable vendors and milkmen are among the few service providers who have been allowed to go door-to-door and supply daily essentials amid the lockdown.
The RMC has made it mandatory to cover one’s mouth and nose while in public places. Around 130 officers have been given power to fine people for violation of these orders. On Wednesday, municipal commissioner Agrawal said that he has sought the help of police in enforcing this order more strictly. “I have written to the city police commissioner, requesting him to allot officers for better enforcement of this order. Once the police allots us these officers, we shall empower them to fine violators,” Agrawal further said.
The civic body is fining Rs 1,000 for first-time violations and Rs 2,000 for the violations thereafter.
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