Updated: April 19, 2021 10:34:24 am
The Rajasthan government on Sunday extended its weekend curfew for two weeks, even as the daily new cases crossed the 10,000 mark in Rajasthan for the first time since the pandemic began.
The decision came following multiple rounds of Covid review meetings chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the weekend. The government has stopped short of calling it lockdown and termed the restrictions till May 3 as ‘Jan Anushashan Pakhwara’ (Public Discipline Fortnight).
During the fortnight, essential services such as state and central government offices, health services, mandis, groceries, dairies, ration shops etc. will remain open while all non-essential private offices will be shut, while weddings and last rites will continue to be permitted as per the orders issued on April 14. Importantly, the industries and manufacturing units will continue to function, to prevent the migration of labourers.
Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota and Udaipur alone accounted for over half of the 10,262 new cases reported on Sunday. Jaipur recorded 1,963 cases, followed by Jodhpur (1,695), Kota (1,116) and Udaipur (10,001). As many as 42 deaths were also recorded on Sunday, taking the total to 3,151 deaths. Total active cases in the state now stand at 67,135.
Comparatively, when the cases peaked in Rajasthan during the first wave last year, a maximum of 18-20 deaths were recorded between November 24 and December 1, 2020. In another change from the first wave, rural areas now account for 30 per cent of all deaths, although people above 60 still account for the maximum number of deaths at 59 per cent.
Chairing a Covid review meet on Sunday evening, Gehlot said 30 per cent of the cases are now coming from villages. “It is now reaching villages because people are returning from Kumbh Mela, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi,” he said, adding that it led to rise in cases, especially in border districts of the state.
He said that the states, including Rajasthan, continuously raising requests with the Centre points to a worrying situation. “Our Health Minister Raghu Sharma himself has been talking to the Union Health Minister in Delhi, yesterday and today, that you give oxygen. Oxygen jo banti thi humare yahan Bhiwadi ke andar, uska adhikar bhi le liye Bharat sarkaar ne (The oxygen we used to make here in Bhiwadi, the Centre has taken over control of that as well). Because they said they’ll control it in the entire country and distribute it. But when we saw the (allocation) figure, we became worried because Rajasthan ko naam matra ka allotment hua (Rajasthan received negligible allotment). We got some peace now after there was some allotment from Jamnagar in Gujarat.”
Health Secretary Siddharth Mahajan said: “We are trying everything (to ensure availability of oxygen). All our oxygen generation plants are working at full capacity and we are giving them electricity 24 hours. This includes the private ones in rural areas, which were getting power for 8 hours – they’ve now been shifted to 24 hour electricity. We have also diverted industrial oxygen towards hospitals.” He said that demand for oxygen for Covid patients has quadrupled in 13 days.
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