Traders in Jansdan town in Rajkot district and Halvad town in Morbid district on Sunday announced voluntarily partial lockdown for a week in an attempt to bring down the cases of Covid-19 in their respective towns. A few villages have also resorted to similar voluntary restrictions to contain further spread of the pandemic.
“Hospitals in Jasdan are full and the town is registering a few dozen cases every day. In view of the worsening situation, traders organised a meeting in the office of the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Jasdan. Officers of health department gave us the overview of Covid-19 scenario in Jasdan and Vinchhiya talukas. Given the serious situation, traders proposed a voluntary partial lockdown for a week. Traders have agreed to shut their shops from 3 pm and open only at 7 am the next day,” Chandubhai Katchi, a leading timber trader of Jasdan and one of the trader leaders of the town, said.
The government-run referral hospital in Jasdan has 24 beds for Covid-19 and all of them have remained occupied for the past few days. “The town had reported 55 cases yesterday and there are no beds available for Covid-19 patients here. Therefore, there was a view among the traders that a partial lockdown would help,” Katchi said. While the compliance would be voluntary, police have offered to help law and order, he added.
Priyankkumar Galchar, SDM of Jasdan, said steps are being taken to tackle the situation. “We are converting 50 beds at a covid care centre (CCC) in Virnagar village into oxygen-equipped beds. Besides, number of beds earmarked for Covid-19 patients in private hospitals in Jasdan will also be increased substantially within a few days. While there is no directive from the government, if the traders want to impose restrictions voluntarily in an attempt to break the chain of infections, we are ready to support,” Galchar said.
There are around 400 traders in Jasdan.
“Traders of Vinchhiya village have also contacted local mamlatdar and informed that they would keep their shops shut in the afternoon. A few villages, including Bhadla, and Panchavada, have also decided to go for voluntary lockdown,” the SDM added.
In Halvad, traders said the decision to keep their shops shut from 2 pm onward was taken after a few of them contracted the virus. “At least 10 traders of Halvad contracted Covid-19 over the past few days and are under treatment. If this continues, the situation may go out of control. Therefore, at a meeting, office-bearers of 32 associations on Sunday decided to go for partial lockdown till April 19. We will submit a memorandum to Halvad mamlatdar on Monday requesting help of the government in tackling the situation and demand a CCC be set up in Halvad in view of the rising number of cases,” Vinu Patel, president of electric goods sellers association of Halvad, said.
Earlier, traders of Morbi had made a similar announcement around a week ago. Isolated villages in Saurashtra and Kutch have also imposed voluntary restrictions on themselves to contain the spread of the viral disease.