Updated: April 7, 2021 4:15:25 am
Amid A sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, the Gujarat government on Tuesday announced a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in 20 cities in the state. The curfew, it said, will come into force from Wednesday and continue till April 30.
With the state reporting 3,280 Covid-19 cases, its highest single-day spike, and 17 fatalities, the Gujarat High Court had, earlier in the day, expressed concern that the situation in the state was getting “out of control” and suggested a curfew or lockdown could be imposed for three to four days to contain its spread.
In a video message late Tuesday evening, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the night curfew would be imposed in four
more municipal corporations and 12 towns, in addition to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot cities and extended the curfew timings by an hour. Earlier, the curfew was in force from 9 pm to 6 am in the four cities.
Government offices, the CM said, will observe a five-day week (so far, they had two off days on the second and fourth weeks of a month) while curtailing the number of guests at weddings to 100. Rupani said the government was expected to come out with a detailed notification in that regard shortly.
The announcement came after the CM held a video-conference with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, principal secretary to the Prime Minister P K Mishra and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan. Subsequently, Rupani chaired a core committee meeting of top officials at his official residence here.
The CM said the state government has got guidance from Shah and top officials of the central government and that a team from the Centre will also pay a special visit to guide Gujarat in dealing with the Covid-19 situation.
Referring the HC intervention in the matter, Rupani said, “The honourable high court has given some suggestions and guidance today. In that regard, we have taken some decisions in the core group.”
Listing the decisions, Rupani said from Wednesday curfew will be impose in Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Gandhinagar, Anand, Nadiad, Mehsana, Morbi, Patan, Godhra, Dahod, Bhuj, Gandhidham, Bharuch, Surendranagar and Amreli, besides the four cities of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot. He also added that the curfew hours have been extended from 8 pm to 6 am. The upper limit for guests at marriage parties has been brought down to 100, from the existing 200. All political and social gatherings of more than 50 persons stand suspended till April 30, he said.
Referring to the elections to the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) and by-election to Morva-Hadaf Assembly constituency, the CM said the Election Commission’s standard operating procedure (SOP) will be applied there. “We are prohibiting political and social gatherings in rest of the Gujarat,” Rupani said.
He added senior bureaucrats, who have been made in-charge of different districts for containing Covid-19, have been partially exempted from their departmental works so that they could concentrate more on Covid-19 duties.
Rupani also announced a few other decisions like mandating oxygen producers to reserve 70% of their stock for Covid-19-related health purpose. He said there won’t be any issue of shortage of Remdesivir injections in Gujarat as the state government has placed an order of 3 lakh injections, which were likely to arrive within two days. “Those injections will be given free of cost in government hospitals and at no-profit-no-loss rate at private hospitals,” Rupani said.
The government has also made plans to increase the number of beds across the state. Private nursing homes, the CM said, have been allowed to treat asymptomatic or mild-symptomatic Covid-19 patients. Community centers or Samras hostels will also be allowed to keep asymptomatic or mild-symptomatic patients so that there is availability of beds for serious patients in hospitals.
In Surat, he said, a new 800-bed kidney hospital will start admitting Covid-19 patients in two days.
Rupani said that 30% beds in government hospitals are still vacant and all hospital staff have been given instructions to admit and treat all patients on the basis of the doctor’s opinion about their medical condition whether they are asymptomatic, mild or serious. Asymptomatic and mild patients will not be admitted in the hospitals, he added.
The CM said that the government has decided to give special emphasis on testing and tracing Covid-19 patients. It has also been decided to devise containment and micro-containment zones in affected areas with special responsibility given to police department.
SOP to pre-empt gathering of people in huge numbers, he said, will also be implemented at Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs). Emphasis is also being given on vaccinating maximum people and arrangements made to ensure 4 lakh people are vaccinated every day, he added.
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