COVID-19 : Gujarat locks down 4 cities till March 25 as cases spurt

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on March 22, 2020

All businesses except essential services to remain closed

The Gujarat government on Saturday announced that four of the biggest cities in the State — Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot to be under lockdown till March 25 with exceptions for essential services and retail outlets of vegetables, milk, grocery and medical stores.

The estimated total population living in these four cities is about 1.8 crore. The concerns mounted after all four cities reported positive coronavirus cases. Ahmedabad is leading with four cases, Surat and Vadodara have three each and Rajkot has one positive case.

The number of positive cases in Gujarat doubled on Saturday to 14 from seven reported a day earlier.

On Sunday morning, the whole of Gujarat joined the nation in ‘Janta Curfew’ (voluntary lockdown) with complete halt on the movement. In cities people closed the society gates to encourage members not to venture out, while villages and towns voluntarily downed shutters amid fears of the further spread of the virus.

The Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Saturday convened a high-level meeting to assess the situation in the State, which is said to be passing through the second and third stage of the coronavirus outbreak. “The decision to shut down all non-essential businesses in the four cities was taken to avoid people from coming in contact with each other and contain the further spread of the virus. Essential services such as retailing of essential food items, medical stores, hospitals, laboratories, petrol pumps, banks, ATMs, transport, media outlets among others will remain open in these cities, while other non-essential businesses will remain shut till March 25,” the Chief Minister announced adding that the State government offices will operate with 50 per cent staff strength on rotational basis. However, this will not apply to those employed for emergency and essential services.

The government has also decided to dedicate a 1,200-bed hospital in Ahmedabad exclusively for coronavirus patients. “The State government is also setting up infection control hospitals at other three cities Surat having 500-bed capacity, Rajkot and Vadodara with 250-bed capacity each. These hospitals will be developed for all suspected coronavirus cases,” said Rupani underlining the government’s prompt action on the preparedness to tackle the biggest public health crisis.

Published on March 22, 2020

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