Coronavirus: Night curfew in Gujarat cities. Will Delhi follow suit?
The worrying rise in coronavirus cases forced the Gujarat government to impose a night curfew in Surat, Vadodara, and Rajkot starting today. This means the areas will be locked down from 9 pm till 6 am. Earlier, a complete lockdown was enforced in Ahmedabad from 9 pm on Friday till 6 am on Monday. Reportedly, the Centre is mulling a similar plan for Delhi.
A lockdown was imposed in March, curbs relaxed with time
India went into a strict lockdown in March, with an intention to prepare the health infrastructure for the unprecedented health crisis. Over the following months, the curbs were relaxed, to provide relief to the badly-affected economy. This month, the country's coronavirus numbers also improved, after nearly 1,00,000 cases were reported daily in mid-September. But in some cities, the situation remained grim.
While India performed well, Gujarat overturned gains, Centre stepped in
With 1,420 fresh cases on Friday, Gujarat's total tally swelled to 1,94,402. So far, 3,837 have died. To note, Gujarat is also among the four states where a team was sent by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The three-member team is led by Dr. SK Singh of NCDC. It will assist the local administration in strengthening containment, surveillance, and testing.
Amid surge, night curfew returned to Vadodara, Rajkot, and Surat
On Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel announced that a night curfew will be imposed in Vadodara, Rajkot, and Surat, until further notice. He said the decision was taken to control the rise of COVID-19 cases after a high-level meeting, which was attended by CM Vijay Rupani, senior police, and administrative officials. He also urged locals to not pay attention to rumors.
Patel feels the government did its best
Patel added that the situation in the last five-six days forced the government to take this decision, as he denied any laxity on part of the administration during festivals. "We did not permit Navratri celebrations, we prohibited temple worship...there was complete compliance from the state government as well as citizens," he said. Separately, Rupani assured a complete lockdown won't be imposed.
Medical shops, petrol pumps, will remain open during curfew hours
During the night curfew, medical shops, dairy booths, petroleum/CNG pumps will remain functional. No restrictions have been imposed on rail/air passengers — they will be allowed to move after furnishing tickets. Similarly, students appearing for competitive exams can also travel after showing admit cards.
A 57-hour-long curfew started in Ahmedabad, residents rushed for supplies
After news of a marathon curfew in Ahmedabad surfaced, residents rushed to stock essentials, forcing the municipal corporation to seal the overcrowded D-Mart store at Shyamal crossroad. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), along with police, also got more vigilant and caught 256 people for not wearing masks. They were taken for a coronavirus test, and nine tested positive. Others were fined Rs. 1,000.
2,635 home guards will ensure Ahmedabad residents comply with rules
To ensure that the rules are strictly followed, 11 DCPs, 32 ACPs, 57 inspectors, 215 sub-inspectors, and 2,635 home guards have been sent to Ahmedabad. As per the notification of Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner Sanjay Srivastava, no curbs will be levied on essential services. While he urged people to stay indoors, he also warned that offenders will be booked under IPC Section 188.
Meanwhile, with Delhi's cases rising, Centre sought response on night-curfew
Gujarat is not the only state where cases are rising, Delhi is also seeing an alarming surge. Considering the same, the Centre has sought a response from health experts on imposing a night curfew. As per ET, the suggestion was made during a meeting of NDMA, health authorities, the Delhi government, and Delhi Police. Reportedly, the Home Ministry has its inhibitions about night curfew.
Delhi's death count reached 8,159 after 118 died yesterday
The report added that Home Ministry officials feel a night curfew would disrupt the economic activities and also adversely affect interstate travel during the wedding season. Ministry officials asserted that health infrastructure has been ramped up, with dozens of beds being added. With the addition of 6,608 fresh cases yesterday, Delhi's tally reached 5,17,238. After 118 new fatalities, the death toll stands at 8,159.