April 5, 2021 8:56:22 pm
It is 2 pm on Monday but shops, even vegetable vendors on the sidewalks, in the markets of Vyara Nagar Palika area in Tapi district have already called it a day. Barring a few local residents out for a stroll, the streets look empty — a complete contrast to the daily hustle-bustle in these parts.
For the next 10 days, Vyara Nagar Palika president Sonalben Rana says, all shops and markets will shut down at the same time.
“A decision to observe a self-imposed lockdown for 10 days, until April 15, has been taken as a precautionary measure after the number of coronavirus cases shot up here. We have urged people to purchase goods of daily use in the morning. While no restriction or penalty will be imposed for a violation, it is our ardent appeal to people and businessmen to stay at home in view of the larger good of the society,” Rana told The Indian Express.
According to the Tapi district health officer, Dr Harshad Patel, there were only 12 Covid-19 cases in February. “Since mid-March, the number of cases started rising and the infection rate, too, went up. On average, we are getting nine to 10 patients per day. Till Sunday night, there were 1,028 positive cases and 53 fatalities recorded,” he said.
Due to its proximity to Nandurbar district in Maharashtra, the government and private hospitals at Vyara Nagar Palika are also getting patients from the neighbouring state, which is also experiencing a surge in cases.
In view of the situation, elected representatives of the nagar palika had urged traders and businessman to adopt a self-imposed for 10 days. Subsequently, Rana and nagar palika vice-president Sudhirsinh Chauhan recently chaired a meeting with the leaders of traders and shopkeepers’ association. Following the talks, a decision was taken to keep shops and markets open from 9 am to 2 pm for 10 days, until April 15.
Apart from businesses, public gardens, riverfronts, swimming pools, gymkhanas, and other places with higher public footfall will remain shut till April 15 in the nagar palika.
Following its footsteps, Songadh Nagar Palika in the district on Monday announced a voluntary 10-day lockdown from 2 pm from Tuesday onwards. The nagar palika president, Shambhu Bharwad, and other elected representatives Monday called a meeting with the shopkeepers and traders of the town and decided to restrict business hours between 9 am and 2 pm from Tuesday.
“We have also taken a decision similar to the Vyara Nagar Palika to keep shops and business establishment closed after 2 till April 15. By doing so, we hope to contain crowding and thus the spread of the infection,” Bharwad said.
Shopkeepers and traders’ association president Bhaveshbhai Shah said they have begun to intimate all traders in the market areas.
According to the Tapi district health officer, active Covid-19 cases are being treated at Vyara Civil Hospital, which has a capacity of 110 beds, of which 15 are equipped with ventilators and rest with oxygen supply lines. Two private hospitals, with 38 beds, were also treating Covid-19 patients in Vyara, the official said.
“We have one dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) at Gadat village with 30 beds, of which 10 beds are with oxygen. We have one Covid Care Centre (CCC) with 50 beds each in Nizar and Songadh towns but without ventilator and oxygen supply lines. There are 12 patients each at the CCCs in Songadh and Nizar, and 15 patients in DCHC. Seventy patients with co-morbid conditions are undergoing treatment at Vyara Civil Hospital, while 12 patients are in home quarantine,” Dr Patel added.
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