Gandhinagar, March 19 (IANS) Amid the COVID-19 scare across the country, Gujarat saw the first two cases of the dreaded disease on Thursday. One is a male in Rajkot and the other is a woman from Surat.
The 32-year-old male, who returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and entered the state from Mumbai, was under observation and admitted in the PDU Medical College, Rajkot, on the March 17. His blood samples were found positive for the virus by the MP Shah Medical College laboratory in Jamnagar and later on confirmed by the National institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. The administration has immediately quarantined 15 persons who had close contact with this male.
Another victim was a woman in Surat. She was studying and living in New York and was admitted in Surat civil hospital on March 16 after she complained of cough, cold and fever. Her samples are found positive by the B.J. Medical College and later on confirmed by the NIV, Pune. The administration has immediately quarantined nine persons who were in close contact with the woman.
Confirming the lab tests, Jaiprakash Shivhare, the Health Commissioner, Gujarat said, “Yes. It is true that there are two cases of COVID-19in Gujarat.”
Addressing the media, after the confirmation was made public, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, said, “We are banning all visitors in temples starting from tomorrow morning. We appeal to citizens to avoid large gatherings. We have been screening passengers at airports. Moreover, the Central government on Thursday cancelled all the international flights landing in India starting from March 22. Thus thousands of people from Gujarat who live in foreign countries, had gone abroad for business, education or for pilgrimage at Mecca-Medina, most of them have returned.”
“Now we are focusing on those who have returned, and we are screening them well and looking after them to ensure there is no spread of the virus,” Patel said.
From January 27 until March 18, 34,985 passengers have been screened at the international terminal of Ahmedabad and Surat airports in the state. Another 33,584 were screened at the domestic terminals of Ahmedabad and Surat airports as well as 3,009 passengers at the 17 ports across the state. This comes to more than 71,500 travellers who were screened. A total of 4,531 were home-quarantined or kept under observation as they had arrived from the corona-affected countries.
Until now, 127 quarantine facilities have been identified with nearly 5,700-bed capacity. The health authorities tested 39 samples on Thursday. To date 150 samples of been tested for COVID-19 in the state.