Gujarat logs record 174 COVID-19 deaths, 14,120 new cases; color-coded stickers for those exempted from night curfew

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat registered 14,120 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while 174 people succumbed to the infection, the highest single-day fatalities so far, the state health department said.

With the addition of 14,120 new patients, the state’s tally of coronavirus cases rose to 5,38,845, the department said in a release here.

On Tuesday, Gujarat had registered 14,352 cases, the highest in a day so far.

After the death of 174 more patients, the statewide toll increased to 6,830, the department said.

The previous highest single-day toll was 170, reported on April 27.

With 8,595 people getting discharged during the day, the number of recovered cases rose to 3,98,824, it said.

The state’s COVID-19 recovery rate further dropped to 74.01 per cent, the release said.

Gujarat currently has 1,33,191 active cases, of which 421 patients are critical, said the department.

Ahmedabad recorded 5,740 new cases, the highest in the state, followed by Surat with 2,116, Vadodara 858, Jamnagar 721, Rajkot 434, Bhavnagar 385, Gandhinagar 324, among others.

Ahmedabad also recorded the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities at 26, followed by Jamnagar at 25, Surat 19, and Vadodara 16, among other districts, said the department.

Gujarat has administered vaccines to 1,17,57,862 beneficiaries so far with 21,93,303 of them getting the second shot as well, said the department.

The government is all set to start vaccinating people in the 18 to 44 age group from May 1, for which registration started on Wednesday, it said.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu rose to 7,234 with the addition of 180 new infections, officials said.

Recoveries increased to 5,083 after 221 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, they said.

There are now 2,147 active cases in the UT which has reported four deaths so far, the officials said.

Gujarat’s COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 5,38,845, new cases 14,120, death toll 6,830, discharged 3,98,824, active cases 1,33,191, people tested so far (figures not released).

The civic body in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad city on Wednesday withdrew its rule that a COVID-19 patient has to arrive in a ‘108’ ambulance to get admitted in a hospital.

The move has come after the Gujarat High Court asked the state government to direct hospitals to admit all COVID-19 patients approaching them, instead of just those arriving through ‘108’ (helpline) ambulance service.

The HC had raised the question of government and designated COVID-19 hospitals in Ahmedabad attending only to patients coming in EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute-run) ‘108’ ambulances and ignoring those brought in private vehicles.

“Starting Thursday, the city’s COVID-19 hospitals will admit patients on the basis of their need, irrespective of whether they arrived on ‘108’ ambulances, private ambulances, private vehicles, or on foot,” the AMC said, following a high-level meeting on Wednesday.

In order to increase the number of COVID-19 beds in the city, the AMC has also directed private hospitals to allocate 75 per cent of its operational beds for infected patients, which will add another 1,000 beds, the civic body said.

The AMC had made it mandatory for patients getting admitted in hospitals under the AMC quota to first register on the ‘108’ centralised system.

Patients were granted admission in such hospitals only when they arrived by ‘108’ ambulances and denied entry in case they arrived in other vehicles.

This criterion was also required for the newly-created 900-bed hospital in the city’s GMDC ground.

With rising cases, the patients were being made to wait for hours to avail the service, and many who arrived at COVID-19 hospitals in private vehicles were denied admission, in some cases leading to their deaths.

In another decision, the civic body also withdrew the requirement of Aadhaar cards for admission in some hospitals for COVID-19 treatment.

All city hospitals will have to meet the requirements of OPD/triage (degree of urgency) for examination and immediate admission of COVID-19 patients on the basis of their requirements, the release stated.

Hospitals will also be required to provide real-time information about bed availability on the government portal, and put up a display board outside showing the status of beds, it said.

The Ahmedabad police has introduced color-coded vehicle stickers for those exempted from night curfew, an official said on Wednesday.

To stem the spread of coronavirus, the Gujarat government has imposed curfew between 8 pm to 6 am in 29 cities including Ahmedabad which will be in force till May 5.

To ensure that people engaged in essential services can travel without stopping at every checkpoint, coloured stickers are being issued, said Deputy Commissioner of Police Harshad Patel.

Red stickers are to be pasted on the vehicles used by doctors, para-medical staff and vehicles carrying oxygen or medicines.

Green stickers are for the vehicles transporting vegetables and milk, while yellow ones are for the vehicles of media professionals, civic officials and power utility and other essential services providers, said Patel.

Pasting the sticker on a vehicle is not compulsory but can save time, he clarified.

“If you do not have the sticker, police would stop you at each checkpoint. Instead, people who are exempted can paste a sticker on their vehicles. It will help police identify you from a distance,” the DCP said.

Stickers will be provided by local police stations on the submission of an application.

“This system will eliminate human-to-human contact, which will reduce the chances of virus transmission. It will also save time for doctors and others engaged in essential services,” he said.