Nineteen juveniles at the Zonal Observation Home in Rajkot were among 107 persons who tested positive for Covid-19 in the district on Saturday, and among 1,311 fresh cases across the state.
Meanwhile, as commercial centres and construction sites in Ahmedabad continue to add to the district’s cases, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has decided to begin testing at the Ahmedabad railway station starting Monday, as per an AMC health official.
Gujarat’s Covid-19 tally has crossed 1.03 lakh. The four districts of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot make up over two-thirds of the state’s cumulative case burden.
The nineteen juveniles have been shifted to a Covid Care Centre (CCC), officials said on Saturday, adding that 23 others tested negative for the viral infection but were quarantined.
Correcting the imbalance
Several districts across the state will now specifically test workers at construction sites and commercial centres, including the urban local body at Ahmedabad. The targeted testing is a gradual shift from solely testing at residential complexes, that had been the norm for the AMC since a month. This has resulted in increased test positivity rate —14% of the workers tested at a bullet train construction site in Sabarmati tested positive, 18% at two construction sites of mall and housing colony, 18% at a temple, etc. — even as the overall test positivity rate for Ahmedabad district is less than one per cent.
Mehul Goswami, social defence officer (SDO) of Rajkot, said, “Following instructions from the state government to test all juveniles under observation at our Observation Home, rapid antigen tests (RAT) were assigned to the 42 boys presently in our facility on September 3. Eleven staff members of the Observation Home have tested negative,” the SDO said.
Goswami further said that the majority of the boys who have tested positive were in the age group of 16 and 17 years. “Rajkot collector Remya Mohan instructed us to shift them to the CCC in Mochi Bazar while the remaining 23 have been quarantined inside the Observation Home itself,” he said. The SDO added that not a single juvenile was symptomatic of the disease.
Juveniles committing serious offences are detained and kept under observation in such facilities while the juvenile justice board adjudicates on their matters. The SDO said that the facility on Bhaktinagar Sation Road in Rajkot is the zonal facility for the entire Saurashtra region and has the capacity to accommodate 50 juveniles. They are put in eight large rooms.
“We have a medical officer who routinely screens the health of the boys. But not one of them ever exhibited any symptoms of Covid-19,” said Goswami.
In the AMC jurisdiction, seven employees at a BMW showroom and workshop tested positive of the 98 who were tested. An AMC health official said that while the urban local body shall continue to test at construction sites given the return of migrant labourers in the state, it also plans to start testing at the Ahmedabad railway station — starting Monday — upon the arrival of trains, in a model similar to that adopted by Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC). While over 50 persons tested positive from the bullet train construction site at Sabarmati ward, no specialised testing solely for bullet train workers has been planned yet.
Ahmedabad rural, on the other hand, continues to distribute AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) remedies despite the lack of scientific evidence on its efficacy. As per district officials, 2.85 lakh homeopathic doses have been administered in homeopath hospitals and quarantine centres in Ahmedabad.
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