GANDHIAGAR, WNS: With Gujarat’s confirmed Covid-19 cases having crossed 72,300, and over a 1,000 cases detected on Monday, the state government decided to heed the Gujarat High Court’s (HC) direction to hike penalties for those not wearing masks in public. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday announced that starting August 11, not wearing a mask in public shall attract a penalty Rs 1,000.
Pursuant to petitions heard on Covid-related matters on July 24, a division bench had directed the state government to enhance the fine for not wearing masks in public places “to a minimum of Rs 1,000” and that it should be uniform across the state. The court had also suggested that the state or other municipal corporations and municipalities may consider enhancement of penalty for repeat offenders.
Surat, which continues to report nearly 240 cases each day, had drawn the ire of the court for a delayed response in tackling the outbreak in the district and the corporation limits. While the rural limits indicate a slowdown, reporting 60 cases on Monday, from July 9 when it was reporting 90 cases each day, the numbers have remained constant throughout August.
Surat’s neighbouring district Tapi reported its second Covid-19 fatality. Another tribal district, Narmada continues to report a dozen cases each day since August 7, with no Covid-19 fatality from the district according to the state bulletin, despite reporting 439 cases till date. However, superintendent at Rajpipla general hospital, Dr Jyoti Gupta told this paper that the district’s only hospital has seen 12 deaths in Covid-19 positive patients, all with underlying comorbidities, with “some dying 40 minutes after being hospitalised.”
“In most of these deaths, we have seen the patient die anywhere between a few hours to within 24 hours of hospitalisation, indicating a delayed detection,” said Dr Gupta.
As Ahmedabad reported nearly 150 cases on Monday, its tally remains the highest, reporting over 27,000 cases till date. With the CM and health officials visiting Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar last week in light of an increased number of infections, a ramp-up in testing plans was announced. Rajkot continues to see a rise in cases – reporting 96 positive patients on Monday. With 1,100 patients currently undergoing treatment, the district continues to see a high test positivity rate of over 13 percent even as of Monday.
Chhota Udepur has seen erratic testing, taking as few as four and nine samples on at least three days this month, including on August 9. Dang, too, sees a low testing level, averaging at around 60 samples each day.