January 1, 2022 11:46:01 pm
Gujarat reported a massive jump in new Covid-19 infections Saturday, recording 1,069 new cases — one-and-half times the number of cases reported on Friday (654). Saturday’s surge is steeper than what was seen in mid-March, the early days of the second wave of the pandemic. The state had last reported as many cases in early-June 2021.
The seven-day doubling rate of new cases is speeding up, with new infections now doubling in approximately two-and-half days, compared to the doubling of new infections in five days seen on December 26.
With 23 more cases of Omicron detected across Gujarat on Saturday, the state’s Omicron tally stands at 136.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel in light of the Covid-19 situation in the state, convened a core committee meeting with ministers of the Cabinet including Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi, Education Minister Jitu Vaghani, Home Minister Harsh Sanghvi and Health Minister Rushikesh Patel, as well as senior bureaucrats. According to a press release from the state government, CM Patel emphasised on increased testing by erecting special domes to make testing operations more comprehensive in the state.”
Ahmedabad clocked a sharp surge in cases, reporting 559 cases from the city jurisdictions, nearly as many cases that were reported from the entire state on December 29.
With 10,000-odd tests conducted across Ahmedabad’s city and rural jurisdictions, the daily test positivity rate in the district as of Saturday stood at 5.5 per cent while the weekly test positivity rate of Ahmedabad is increasing each day, at 3.49 per cent for the week from December 25 to 31.
Ahmedabad city also detected 11 more Covid-19 patients with the Omicron variant, six of them with international travel history while five others had no travel history. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) solid waste management department also announced that it will be cracking down on citizens not wearing masks, penalising them Rs 1,000, in a special drive during 7 pm to 10 pm on Saturday. For the drive, 80 teams have been deployed across the city.
While AMC added 11 more areas under micro containment zones, with majority of them in the north-west zone areas of Jagatpur, Bodakdev, Ghatlodia and Gurukul road, taking the total micro containment zones in the city to 29, the civic body also announced that private premises and commercial units must conduct checking of vaccination status of visitors and others on the premises. The civic body also warned that if it comes to its notice that any commercial unit is being negligent in conducting such exercise, “strict actions will be taken” against them.
As many as 12 of the 23 patients detected with Omicron variant had international travel history while the remaining 11 have no travel history.
Vadodara city, where 61 Covid-19 cases were added, also detected the Omicron variant in three patients, including a 23-year-old woman, who travelled to the US before the authorities received her genome sequencing report.
VMC Medical Officer for Health Dr Devesh Patel said, “The 23-year-old woman had done her RT-PCR on December 24, as part of the mandatory process to be able to travel to the US. She tested positive on December 24 and later tested negative for Covid-19 on December 26. She flew off to the US. Since her Covid-19 viral load fit the parameter for genome sequencing, her sample was sent on December 24. We received the report on Saturday that she had been positive for the Omicron variant.”
Patel added that the source of infection of the patient was unknown and a person who was her primary contact had tested negative for Covid-19.
Two others detected with the Omicron variant are couple arrived from the United Kingdom on November 20 — a 74-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman from the Gokulnagar area — who underwent a test on November 25.
“They were found positive in the RT-PCR report on December 26. They were asymptomatic and have no close contacts but remain in strict isolation to date. Their sample was sent for genome sequencing on the same day and they have been found positive for the Omicron Variant on Saturday. The source of infection is unknown,” Patel said.
VMC has reported a total of 23 Omicron cases so far. On Saturday, the VMC also reported 67 Covid-19 cases and a tally of 236 active cases.
In Surat city, 156 new cases of Covid-19 were reported including nine students of different schools. Five of these students have a travel history of foreign tour to Dubai, Canada, and Thailand. In December, the Surat Municipal Corporation had reported 90 Covid-19 cases among students in Surat city, most of them being asymptomatic.
Four other fully vaccinated persons in Surat city with history of foreign travel from UAE, Ukraine and UK, were detected with the Omicron variant.
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