The Gujarat government on Thursday announced night curfew (from 9 pm to 6 am) in Ahmedabad city from Novemeber 20, following a sharp increase surge in Covid-19 cases.

Over the past few days, the city has been reporting heavy rush at government and private hospitals with a surge in Covid patients.

The increase is attributed to crowding and festival gatherings during Diwali. Health professionals also indicated that smoke due to fireworks during Diwali and cold weather could have contributed to the rise in the cases.

“Crowding was observed during the festival season at market places and places of recreation. Now that winter has started, and in a precautionary measure to contain further spread of the coronavirus infections, it has been decided to impose a curfew in the city between 9 pm and 6 am from November 20. It will remain in force till further notice,” said Rajiv Kumar Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary (Forest & Environment Department), Government of Gujarat and in-charge for Covid-19 management in Ahmedabad.

The Centre had imposed a nationwide curfew between 9 pm to 5 am immediately after the initial lockdown. However, in a phased reopening of the economy, the Centre had started relaxing the curfew timing, thereby allowing free movement for the people.

The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry earlier on Thursday had recommended to the State government to impose night curfew between 11 pm and 6 am across the State. “The pandemic has witnessed a sudden surge due to the festival season, and in order to bring it back under control, we will have to be self-disciplined and make extra efforts wholeheartedly to curb the pandemic,” said Natubhai Patel, President, GCCI, in a note on Thursday.

Covid beds

Further, the State government has informed that in order to meet the growing need for Covid-19 beds, the Ahmedabad civic authority has enhanced the bed capacities by about 1,300 additional beds across government and private hospitals.

Gupta informed that as on Thursday, a total of 2,637 beds — 2,237 at government hospitals and 400 at private hospitals — are vacant. “There is adequate arrangements for bed availability. Also, the State government has allotted 300 doctors and 300 medical students for Ahmedabad city to meet the growing requirements of doctors.”