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Coronavirus | Gujarat COVID-19 surge overwhelms health infrastructure

A man reacts as a health worker takes a nasal swab to test for COVID-19 at an urban health centre in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on April 3, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

The surge in the COVID-19 cases in Gujarat has begun overwhelming the health infrastructure amidst shortage of hospital beds, oxygen supply and remdesivir injections as the authorities struggle to ramp up capacity.

On Friday, the State witnessed 4,541 cases and 42 deaths, increasing the official toll to 4,697 while active cases have jumped to 22,692.

As the authorities grapple to deal with the challenging situation, trade bodies and associations including local chambers of commerce and industries have called for voluntary lockdown over the weekends in cities like Surat and Rajkot where finding hospital beds has become nearly impossible despite the government’s efforts to augment the capacity by declaring private hospitals and nursing homes as COVID-19 care centres.

Videos on local channels and social media platforms show patients lying outside the hospitals to get admitted and long queues outside the crematoria paint a grim picture of how the pandemic is ravaging the State as local media reports over 250 deaths taking place across Gujarat.

“The second wave is far more severe than the first wave and it’s just the beginning. We already feel overwhelmed as numbers are rising,” a noted infectious disease expert from the city said.

“In the next one week, the government will increase COVID-19 bed capacity by 15,000 new beds,” said Gujarat Chief Minister while reviewing the rapidly worsening situation in his home town Rajkot and nearby Morbi where community halls will be used to set up care centres.

Mr. Rupani said the government has ordered three lakh doses of remdesivir injections and supply has started arriving to ease the escalating demand. While 1,63,716 injections were administered in March, 1,70,738 have been administered in just nine days of April reflecting the soaring demand for the injection.

The Chief Minister also requested the State Election Commission to postpone the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation election scheduled for April 18. The Oopposition Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have also made a similar plea.

In nearly 100 smaller towns and villages, people have imposed voluntary lockdown where except essential grocery, pharmacy and dairy parlours, everything is shut. The government has also shut down gyms, gardens and parks and swimming pools and clubs while malls have been asked to shut down during the weekends.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 12:37:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-covid-19-surge-overwhelms-health-infrastructure/article34285017.ece

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