The Gujarat government on Saturday decided to suspend Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC)-run and private bus services to and from the district for 10 days, beginning Monday, after the area witnessed a steady rise in Covid-19 cases and fatalities. As Gujarat neared 55,000 cases on Saturday, 276 of the 1,081 cases added in a single day were from Surat, which also reported half the state fatalities due to Covid-19.
GSRTC buses make a total of 1,200 trips in a day from Surat to other parts of the state.
The state, which has been testing more than 13,000 samples since July 21, going up to nearly 15,400 on July 23, saw 13,900 samples taken on Saturday.
As per the government press release, with the Unlock 1 and 2 guidelines, the government buses and private buses were running across the state following the norms of social distancing and sanitisation. With cases rising in Surat, a high-power meeting was held in Gandhinagar by the state transport ministry where it was decided to suspend all the private bus services and GSRTC services. Thermal screening and antigen testing of all passengers in private vehicles coming to Ahmedabad from Surat is also on since three weeks.
As per the government, the suspension will not apply to private vehicles and goods carriers. The regular ST bus services and private bus services in other parts of the state will function routinely.
Surat has been badly affected by coronavirus post Unlock-1 and till date the total positive cases in Surat is 11,969, while death toll is 532.
Sources in GSRTC Surat said that ST buses that ply between Surat and Saurashtra, from where the city sources its diamond industry workforce, in a day make 92 trips, both ways. The ST buses that ply from Surat to North Gujarat and Ahmedabad make 152 trips. ST buses from Surat to Godhra, Vadodara, Bharuch , Nadiad, Valsad make 244 trips.
The number of cases in district areas of Central Gujarat has seen a steady rise since the beginning of July.
Bharuch, which had only about 100 Covid-19 cases in the first week of July, has crossed a tally of 791, according to the district administration although the state tally remains at 726 cases till date.On Saturday, the district administration of Bharuch closed the Swaminarayan temple located in Dandiya Bazar area of the town to devotees, after positive cases emerged. “The temple has been quarantined for seven days, beginning Saturday,” an official of the district administration said.
In Ahmedabad, where the municipal corporation has begun antigen testing, saw one test positive in the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Shahibaug. AMC also tested as many as 1,441 sanitation workers on July 24 and 25, including drivers of waste pick-up vans of whom five tested positive. All five are undergoing treatment at the infectious diseases hospital at Behrampura. In the past three days, 563 super-spreaders too were tested in the Bopal Ghuma area of whom two tested positive.
Ahmedabad on Saturday reported 180 new cases and four fatalities. Vadodara added 92 cases, taking the total to 4,102, while two died.
Apart from Surat, Ahmedabad and Vadodara, five other districts containing municipal corporation areas — Rajkot, Gandhinagar, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh — added nearly 200 cases. Dahod district, on the other hand, has also seen a steady rise in the number of cases taking the tally to 395 on Saturday. The district had under 100 cases until July 10. The town dominated by the trader community reported the highest spike of 39 cases last week. District Collector Vijay Kharadi, said, “The new cases are coming from different areas. Most of these cases are from the towns where activity has commenced after the lockdown ease. The tribal villages are not as much affected yet,” Kharadi told this newspaper.
Narmada district, which had been in the green zone for the most part of the summer lockdown, has seen a rise in the cases, taking the tally to 232. Of these, 12 cases were reported on Saturday.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines