AHMEDABAD: A central team met on Saturday with senior officials in Gandhinagar in Gujarat to increase the number of COVID-19 cases in several cities.
As the cases mounted, authorities blocked a curfew in Ahmedabad between 9pm on Nov. 20 and 6 a.m. on Nov. 23.
In addition, the night stoppage time between 21:00 and 6 am will remain in force in Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot until further orders.
With 1,515 new cases on Saturday, the case load in Gujarat has increased to 1,95,917.
The three-member team led by Dr. Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), met with senior officials of the Gandhinagar State Department of Health and also visited the SVP Hospital in Ahmedabad, where COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment.
Kumar told reporters that the team will make a realistic assessment of the pandemic situation in Gujarat after taking officials into custody.
“We met with the Secretary of State, the health commissioner, the municipal commissioner and other senior officials of the health department and discussed the COVID-19 situation in Gujarat and Ahmedabad.
“They shared detailed information on how the number of cases increased and informed about the measures taken by the state. We have planned our two-day visit to the state based on this information,” Kumar said.
He said the team could visit Vadodara, where it will inspect hospitals and review the pandemic situation over the next two days.
“We need to make a realistic observation of the prevailing situation. It is not a case of an administrative failure. Accumulation will increase infection if we do not take precautions. And that applies to all of India,” Kumar said.
Meanwhile, daily life came to a standstill in Ahmedabad as Saturday progressed.
All the busy streets and market places had a deserted view amid a heavy police presence.
Police personnel can be seen stopping vehicles and questioning people for the purpose of going out on the street.
Authorities have allowed people to leave their homes only to buy milk and medicine.
Some citizens can be seen walking long distances as the state carrier has suspended over 300 services to Ahmedabad.
“We came from Gwalior and wanted to go to Bhavnagar, but now we are stuck in Ahmedabad due to the clock stop,” said a Deven who claimed to have walked about six hours with his wife and another person.
Vadodara Assistant Police Commissioner Chirag Koradia said, “We would like to call on people to support us for the proper imposition of the curfew between 9pm and 6am,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, said the government has taken precautionary measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus and urged people not to panic.
“During the recently concluded Navratri and Diwali festivals, the number of daily COVID-19 cases (in the state) dropped from 1,200 to 800. However, the number of infections increased as a result of people leaving to shop for the holidays, visiting restaurants and meeting their friends, “he said.
He said the daily schedule of COVID-19 cases retreated back to 1,400 after falling from 1,200 to 800 in the recent past.
With the exception of Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara, all other districts in the state have registered new double-digit cases.
“We discussed the prevailing situation at the crucial meeting and decided it was the right time to impose the police ban,” Patel said.
He said there was no calm on the part of the state government and local administration when asked about the peak in new cases.
“How can we stop people from meeting their relatives and family members during festivals? Doing so was impractical and impossible. It was not fair to impose a curfew during Diwali. The number of new cases is not so high. a lot that will scare us, “he added.
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