To control the spread of coronavirus, civic authorities of Ahmedabad and Surat decided to close all shops except those selling milk and medicines for a week, triggering panic buying of grocery items and vegetables by citizens. The order will be in effect from May 7 midnight in Ahmedabad, while in Surat it will be enforced from Saturday.
As many as 382 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the Gujarat on Wednesday, with 291 from Ahmedabad alone. With this, the total number of positive cases in the state has reached 6,669. In the highest till date, 5,559 samples were tested in 24 hours aross the state.
As many as 27 people succumbed to the virus in the state on Wednesday — 25 of the deaths were from Ahmedabad.
Ahmedabad accounts for over 70 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in Gujarat and as many fatalities due to the disease.
Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar Gupta, who was made the in-charge of Ahmedabad city on Tuesday held a meeting with officials of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and issued an order saying: “All those working in shops like vegetables, fruit, grocery, provisions, supermarkets, ice cream parlours and people engaged in home delivery of these items as well as Swiggy, Zomato, Dominos and others become potent sources of infection for many. Therefore in the entire AMC area, all shops and home delivery services except milk and medicine shall remain closed for seven days starting from May 7.”
Surat Municipal Corporation in its order said, “Agricultural produce market committee markets, vegetable markets in all zones designated for farmers, independent vegetable stalls, fruit shops and sale of vegetables and fruits through any mode is prohibited from May 9 to May 14.”
The state government also decided to suspend the distribution of free foodgrains for APL-1 ration card holders in Ahmedabad city. The distribution which was to begin on Thursday will now happen after new dates are announced for the municipal corporation areas, stated an official release.
The decision for complete lockdown in Ahmedabad followed an order from in-charge municipal commissioner Mukesh Kumar under Rule 11 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, for “effective implementation of social distancing and to minimise crowding to reduce the spread of infection in the city of Ahmedabad”.
Branches of all banks except ATMs will also remain closed in the red zones till further notice.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting a visit from the country’s “top three doctors” to guide those at the Civil Hospital Ahmedabad on the best available treatments.
A government statement said that Rupani also had a telephonic conversation earlier in the day, where he suggested that Dr Randeep Guleria, director of AIIMS Delhi, Dr Rajesh Chawla of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi and Mumbai-based pulmonologist Dr Rohit Pandit be sent for a day at the designated COVID hospital on Ahmedabad Civil Hospital campus, in a bid “to better direct the state and the doctors as well as the medical teams at Civil Hospital to reduce the high death rate while improving its rate of discharge”.