Change in Gujarat's Covid management plan will contain spread: Vijay Rupani

Covid-19 cases in Gujarat crossed 50,000 this week. On Tuesday, the state reported its highest single-day surge in new cases at 1,026 and maximum deaths in a day since June 12 at 34.

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“We are reaching out to 100,000 people every day in Ahmedabad alone,” the chief minister said.
New Delhi: Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani expects the state will be able to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the next two weeks by reaching out to people with mild symptoms and offering them care at home. Rupani discussed changes in the state’s Covid-19 management plan in an interview and said an industrial policy aimed at reviving economic activity in the state will be announced soon.

Covid-19 cases in Gujarat crossed 50,000 this week. On Tuesday, the state reported its highest single-day surge in new cases at 1,026 and maximum deaths in a day since June 12 at 34. While Ahmedabad and Surat have been registering a spurt in cases, Bhavnagar and Rajkot have emerged as the new concern areas.

The containment zones in Ahmedabad were found to have the highest prevalence of infections among virus hotspots where the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had conducted sero surveillance in April, ET had reported earlier, citing people aware of the results. Ahmedabad had recorded a virus prevalence rate of 55%.


“In the last one-and-a-half months, we adopted a new strategy of addressing this issue of patients not approaching hospitals till the symptoms became very severe,” Rupani said. “Now we have over 1,100 Dhanwantri raths, a mobile dispensary with doctors, medicines, oximeters and testing facilities.”

Labourers Coming Back
“We are reaching out to 100,000 people every day in Ahmedabad alone,” the chief minister said.

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A helpline has also been started to ensure medical help reaches people in less than two hours.

“Earlier, we used to get 900 calls a day, but now we get around 200,” he said, adding that it will take 10 to 15 days more to stabilise Surat.

Since June 29, there has been a spike in cases in the diamond hub, which overtook Ahmedabad in both positive cases and fatalities due to the disease.

“There was a time when Gujarat was next to Maharashtra, but the situation has improved in the last one month, compared to other states. One has to acknowledge that,” the chief minister said.

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Rupani, who completes four years as chief minister next month, said the state government will come up with an industrial policy soon. “With regard to MSMEs, nearly 175,000 units have already gotten their loans sanctioned, and Rs 9,500 crore has already been disbursed under the Atmanirbhar Bharat schemes. We want to reach at least 300,000 units,” he said.

The chief minister said state officials have been monitoring trains coming from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and are confident that the migrant workforce will return.

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According to the Mahatma Gandhi Labour Institute in the state, nearly 1.5 million workers left Gujarat in April on Shramik special trains.

“Our daily reports of trains coming from UP and Bihar are saying that more and more labourers are coming back. We are in touch with industrial units. The industrial power consumption was around 7,500 MW just before the lockdown and it remains almost the same now, which shows the factories have begun work,” he said.

The state recently eased labour laws for industries with less than 300 workers, making it easy for them to retrench employees. Like some other states, it also extended working hours from eight to 12. Labour activists have been critical of the measures, saying they could increase exploitation of workers.

The steps were taken “to ensure maximum jobs and to help households overcome economic hurdles,” Rupani said.

“There are some new realities that we have to accept and look for solutions. We have taken every step after a lot of consideration. We have made sure there is no compromise on minimum wages, compensation due to death or injury,” he said.

On the political crisis in Rajasthan, he said it is “a poor reflection of the shortcomings of the Congress leadership.” The Gehlot-Pilot tussle was only a continuation of what was happening with the Congress party in several states, he said.

“In MP and Gujarat, too, several Congress MLAs have joined the BJP,” Rupani said. “Every leader worth his salt in the Congress party knows he is staring at a bleak future, hence, wants to come here.”

On the recent appointment of Patidar leader Hardik Patel as head of the Congress unit in the state, he said, “The party has shown its desperation by giving someone who tried to divide the Gujaratis by giving him the highest position in the state.”

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