Concerned about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Surat, the Gujarat government on Thursday imposed a curfew in five areas of the city, with effect from Thursday midnight till 6 am on April 22, said Ashwani Kumar, Secretary to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
Only women will be allowed to step out for buying essentials during a daily three-hour relaxation between 1 pm to 4 pm, Kumar added.
The decision was taken after CM Rupani held a meeting on video conference with top officials in Gandhinagar including Chief Secretary Anil Mukim; Director General of Police Shivanand Jha, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sangeeta Singh and Surat city officials like Surat Police Commissioner RB Brahmbhatt; Collector Dhaval Patel and Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani.
The areas to be put under curfew fall within the jurisdiction of five police stations — Salabatpura, Mahidharpura, Lalgate, Athwalines and Limbayat. For Limbayat police station, the area falling under Kamrunagar police chowky will be under curfew. The other four areas fall within the walled city area and are interconnected through Raj Marg (central road).
The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) had earlier declared ten clusters of COVID-19 patients in these areas. Their entry and exit points, including by-lanes and lanes, have been blocked with bamboos. Banners stating that the residents of these areas are under quarantine have also been put up. Police and Central Industrial Security Force personnel —armed with guns— have also been deployed to keep a strict vigil on the public movement in these areas.
Surat Police Commissioner Brahmabhatt said, “We found that there is a necessity of imposing curfew in Salabatpura, Mahidharpura, Lalgate, Ahtwalines and Limbayat police station areas. These areas are densely populated. There is a possibility to control the movement of people and if not done, coronavirus might spread in other non-affected areas of the city through local transmission. Those caught violating the curfew will be booked under the Disaster Management Act and various Indian Penal Code sections.”
Surat Mayor Dr. Jagdish Patel said, “After 18 years, the people of Surat will witness a curfew-like situation. Citizens should stay inside their homes and keep social distance…Seeing the present situation of the spread of coronavirus, the curfew is a precautionary measure.”
Surat is the second city in Gujarat where the government has imposed a curfew to contain the spread of coronavirus. A couple of days ago, Danilimda and the entire walled city area of Ahmedabad were also put under a seven-day curfew.
Between Wednesday and Thursday, 35 persons tested positive for coronavirus in Surat, in contrast to 42 persons in Ahmedabad testing positive in the same period. As of Thursday, Ahmedabad (492) has reported the highest number of cases in the state, followed by Vadodara (127) and Surat (86).