Covid-19: Two apartments in Surat “restricted” after a surge in cases; What this means for Navratri

The Surat Municipal Corporation, as of Monday, had reported 111,579 cases of Covid-19. (Reuters / File)

The Surat Municipal Corporation classified two apartments as “restricted areas” after 16 people tested positive for Covid-19. All those infected, except two children, from Sumeru Silver Leaf to Paal and Megh Mayur to Athwalines had completed their vaccination course.

A 70-year-old man and his 69-year-old wife, who live in Megh Mayur, tested positive for Covid-19 on September 18 and were hospitalized. The civic organization then mobilized its medical vans to perform RTPCR tests and found seven more cases in the building which houses 247 residents in 71 apartments. The patients were isolated at home and the building was declared a restricted area.

In Sumeru Silver Leaf, which houses 242 residents in two towers with 88 apartments, nine cases were detected from September 15 to Monday. Two of the infected were children aged 10 and 14. Apart from the children, all the others infected were vaccinated.

Athwa area doctor Dr Kalpesh Khatri said of the nine cases in Megh Mayur, three were under 36. The others are between 65 and 84 years old.

In Sumeru Silver Leaf, a 40-year-old woman tested positive first, followed by her 14-year-old son. Rander area doctor Dr Ketan Garasiya said residents of the towers celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi during a joint pandal in the parking lot. Several games were organized for the children during the night.

The nine people are in isolation at home.

Police and civic corps security guards were stationed at access points to both apartments, with entry for visitors and residents restricted.

Deputy Health Commissioner Dr Ashish Naik said restrictions on cluster areas would be in place for a fortnight and would only be lifted after reviewing residents’ health. Medical teams will visit the apartments regularly during this period and check the health of infected people and other residents.

Surate’s workload
The Surat Municipal Corporation, as of Monday, had reported 111,579 cases of Covid-19. The civic body has reported the largest number of additional daily cases in Gujarat each day since September 21. Surat has reported 40 cases of Covid-19 since September 21.

Surat recorded 215 cases in July, 475 in August and 103 through September 27.

Surat Municipal Corporation has reported new cases every day for the past 90 days. The state’s health department said it follows each new case and makes sure patients remain in isolation.

The additional chief secretary of the Ministry of Health, Manoj Aggarwal, said a slight increase from 10 to 15 cases to 25 cases each day was not of concern. He said the total number of tests in Gujarat, between 50,000 and 70,000 per day, was high.

He added that most of the positive cases were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and did not require hospitalization. The situation is not of concern as there was virtually no difference in the daily new additions to the workload despite so many samples being tested. Also, he said, as long as the R0 (the measure of infectivity) remained below one, there was no reason to worry.

Agarwal said a large portion of the population – 83% with the first dose and 37% with both doses – had already been vaccinated.

The Surat Municipal Corporation administered 48.67 doses of lakh vaccine. He fully vaccinated 14.95 lakh people. Surat has the second highest immunization coverage in Gujarat, just behind Ahmedabad. Overall, the state administered over six crore doses, including 1.84 crore seconds.

Reopening of Navratri
Health ministry officials said the current situation was not a concern for planned Navratri relaxations. However, the easing is “dynamic” and restrictions could be reimposed if a trend reversal is seen.

Gujarat announced several relaxations on September 25 – the most important being the approval to celebrate Navratri Garba with a maximum of 400 people in residential areas, apartments and companies.

The state also raised the cap on the number of people attending weddings to 400 from 150 previously. For the last rites, the ceiling has been raised to 100 people from 40. Hotels and restaurants can operate up to 10 pm at 75% of their capacity, above the current 60%. Gujarat has also eased nighttime curfew hours in eight cities from midnight to 6 a.m.

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