February 24, 2021 9:28:41 pm
As Gujarat saw an uptick in Covid-19 cases, especially in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot that recently concluded their municipal corporation elections, screening has been intensified on the Gujarat-Maharashtra border in Valsad district.
Talking to The Indian Express, Valsad district collector RR Raval said, “We have deployed our teams at Bhilad check post on National Highway 48 that is the entry point of vehicles coming from Maharashtra. We have also deployed health teams at six check posts in the district that has connectivity to the areas in Maharashtra. Teams have also been deployed at railway stations and state transport bus stand in Valsad to passengers from Maharashtra. On Tuesday, at Bhilad check post, 15 persons were found to have high temperature, following which Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) was conducted on them and they tested negative.”
Adding that they don’t want to take any chance, Raval said, “We have also deployed medical officers team to co-ordinate with different industries in Vapi and neighbouring areas, to screen migrant workers.”
Sanjay Shah, health officer of Dangs district, which is on the border of Maharashtra state with only road connectivity, said, “There are four check posts at points connecting Maharashtra where we have deployed medical teams and police teams to screen people coming from Maharashtra and conduct RAT, if required. We have increased the number of health officials at Saputara Hill Station in Dangs, the main entry from Maharashtra.”
After reporting fewer than 300 cases of Covid-19 each day since February 1, Gujarat saw a rise in cases in major cities and districts with the state reporting 348 new cases on Tuesday, the second consecutive day of seeing over 300 cases since January 31. On both days, more patients reported positive for Covid-19 than the discharge numbers. However, no fatalities were recorded.
With election campaigning and imposition of model code of conduct in place since January 23, surveillance and adherence to Covid guidelines were not strictly followed. In an order on January 20, the Gujarat High Court pointed out that the “ensuing election to the municipal corporations, municipalities and panchayats and the carefree attitude of the people at large has once again pushed us almost to the edge of a cliff”.
As per data provided by the Gujarat police, between January 12 and 14, the state registered a total of 1,114 offences, penalised 21,358 persons and collected a penalty of Rs 2.12 crore for violation of Covid guidelines. However, in 25 days from January 23, 67,660 persons were penalised for not wearing masks and spitting in public and collected a fine of nearly Rs 6.71 crore.
Before the MCC was enforced, it appears an average of Rs 70.66 lakh was collected per day for violating Covid norms, while it slipped to Rs 26.84 lakh per day after the model code was in place.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has restarted testing kiosks at 16 spots across the city, depending on the case distribution. AMC health department said a rise is seen in the western parts of the city, especially in Jodhpur and Paldi. Five micro-containment areas were added on Tuesday, including 20 households with a population of 107 persons at Bhaipura in the eastern zone.
At present, there are eight micro-containment zones in the city. “Around 1,200 tests are being conducted at present, with testing being voluntary,” AMC health department said, while confirming that “election is the primary reason (for the rise in cases)”.
The state health department on Monday said that those with symptoms of influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infection would be surveyed, while the AMC is testing only those who voluntarily choose to get themselves tested.
As per GVK EMRI, which provides emergency ambulance service, an increase of five to 10 Covid patients in need of hospitalisation has been seen across the state “which is not much”. “Until last week, we had around 30 patients ferried by our ambulance each day which has gone up to 35 or 40 since this week,” said GVK EMRI.
Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association president Dr Bharat Gadhvi cautioned that while the situation is not worrisome at the moment, it is necessary to control the slight uptick. “Most of the cases are moderate. But we are seeing a slight rise in hospitalisations… We had fewer than 100 in the hospital but now have 145 admitted. We are at a position where we can prevent the surge from becoming a bigger wave.”
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