Gujarat on Tuesday reported 49 deaths due to coronavirus — the highest 24-hour toll reported in the state so far — with 39 of them in Ahmedabad, a city which saw a new team of bureaucrats take charge in the battle against the pandemic after Ahmedabad municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra announced that he is going on a 14-day home quarantine for coming into contact with two COVID-19 patients during field visits.
Ahmedabad has approximately 70 per cent of the state’s total share of confirmed coronavirus cases, and nearly as much of the share of fatality.
On Tuesday, Gujarat reported 441 fresh confirmed cases — also the most in 24 hours — taking the state total to 6,287. Ahmedabad reported 39 deaths and 349 new cases, raising its number of patients to 4,425.
Among those who tested positive were Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) south zone deputy municipal commissioner, and his driver.
In Ahmedabad, Gujarat Maritime Board vice chairman and CEO Mukesh Kumar took over as the municipal commissioner in-charge. Additional chief secretary (forest and environment) Rajiv Gupta has been designated as special officer in-charge of COVID-19 in the city.
Gupta, also MD of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, was made in charge of state capital Gandhinagar on May 1.
In the day’s medical bulletin, Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi said that the decisions were taken “given the serious situation emerging in Ahmedabad city, and with a view to take care of it”.
Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar will “guide and supervise” the Health and Family Welfare Department, according to a government release.
The changes come barely a week after the Vijay Rupani government in the state had reassigned jobs in the Health Department, placing a senior bureaucrat in charge of 11 teams to contain the spread of the virus, create capacities, and secure availability of equipment and treatment.
Ravi said Mukesh Kumar has already taken charge as municipal commissioner and held meetings with Chief Secretary Anil Mukim and Chief Principal Secretary to Chief Minister K Kailashnathan, and senior officials of AMC to “review the situation and initiate implementation activities”.
After the decision was declared, Nehra tweeted: “I came into contact with two persons during my field visits who tested positive subsequently. As per guidelines, I have been advised self isolation at home for 14 days…”
In his online briefing on Tuesday, Nehra stated that the growth rate of cases has come down from 30 per cent to less than 5 per cent since the pandemic began in the state.
Principal Secretary (Health) Ravi announced that a decision was taken on Tuesday to designate all registered medical practitioners in Vadodara as “COVID consultants for home-based COVID care”. She said this model will eventually be replicated elsewhere in the state.
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