Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Ashish Naik said the cluster zone restrictions would be in place for a fortnight and lifted only after examining the residents’ health.
The Surat Municipal Corporation has categorised two apartments as ‘restricted zones’ after 16 people tested positive for Covid-19. All the infected people, except two children, from Sumeru Silver Leaf in Paal and Megh Mayur in 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 hospitalised. The civic body then mobilised its medical vans to conduct RTPCR tests and found seven more cases in the building that houses 247 residents in 71 flats. The patients were isolated at home and the building declared a restricted zone.
In Sumeru Silver Leaf, which houses 242 residents in two towers with 88 flats, nine cases were detected from September 15 till Monday. Two of the infected were children aged 10 and 14. The children apart, all the other infected were vaccinated.
Athwa Zone Medical Officer Dr. Kalpesh Khatri said of the nine cases in Megh Mayur, three were below 36 years. The rest are aged between 65 and 84 years.
In Sumeru Silver Leaf, a 40-year-old woman first tested positive, followed by her 14-year-old son. Rander Zone Medical Officer Dr. Ketan Garasiya said the towers’ residents had celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi at a common pandal in the parking lot. Several games were organised for the children during nighttime.
All the nine people are undergoing home isolation.
Police and civic body security guards have been stationed at the two apartments’ access points with the entry of visitors and residents’ movement restricted.
Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Ashish Naik said the cluster zone restrictions would be in place for a fortnight and lifted only after examining the residents’ health. Medical teams will visit the apartments on a regular basis during this time and check the health of the infected people and other residents.
The Surat Municipal Corporation, till Monday, had reported 111,579 Covid-19 cases. The civic body has reported the highest daily caseload addition in Gujarat each day since September 21. Surat has reported 40 Covid-19 cases since September 21.
Surat recorded 215 cases in July, 475 in August, and 103 till September 27.
The Surat Municipal Corporation has reported new cases on a consistent basis each day over the past 90 days. The state’s health department said it was keeping track of each new case and ensuring that the patients remained in isolation.
The health department’s Additional Chief Secretary Manoj Aggarwal said a slight surge from 10-15 cases to 25 cases each day was not concerning. He said Gujarat’s overall testing numbers, between 50,000 and 70,000 a day, were high.
He added most of the positive cases were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and did not require hospitalisation. The situation is not worrying as there was hardly any difference in new daily caseload additions despite so many samples being tested. Additionally, he said, as long as the R0 (the measure of infectivity) remained below one, there was no reason to worry.
Agarwal said a large section of the population — 83% with the first dose and 37% with both doses — had already been vaccinated.
The Surat Municipal Corporation has administered 48.67 lakh vaccine doses. It has fully vaccinated 14.95 lakh people. Surat has Gujarat’s second-highest vaccination coverage, just behind Ahmedabad. Overall, the state has administered over six crore shots, including 1.84 crore second doses.
Health department officials said the present situation was not a concern for the planned Navratri relaxations. However, the relaxations are “dynamic” and restrictions could be reimposed if any reversal in trends are noticed.
Gujarat announced several relaxations on September 25 — the biggest being approval to celebrate Navratri Garba with a maximum of 400 people within residential neighbourhoods, apartments, and societies.
The state has also raised the cap on the number of people attending weddings to 400 from 150 earlier. For last rites, the cap has been raised to 100 people from 40. Hotels and restaurants can operate till 10 pm at 75% capacity, higher than the current 60%. Gujarat has also relaxed night curfew hours in eight cities from 12 am to 6 am.