Published on March 20, 2020

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat health and family welfare department on Friday announced that the total number of positive cases in state has reached to five – with two more cases from Ahmedabad and one from Vadodara testing positive.

The department officials said that earlier two cases – one each from Rajkot and Surat – were tested positive. A total of 47 persons who were in close contact with these five persons are quarantined as part of precaution.

Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary (health & family welfare), told mediapersons on Friday that two women from Ahmedabad – a 21-year-old woman with travel history to the US and a 34-year-old woman with travel history to Finland – have tested positive in addition to a 49-year-old man who had returned from Spain to Vadodara.

Health department officials said that a total of 47 persons, who had come in contact with the positive cases and were showing any symptoms associated with COVID-19 have been quarantined.

“All are quarantined, and their treatment is on. Fortunately, none of them are on ventilator at the moment. As we know from international experience, the viral infection is lethal in older age. Majority of our cases are relatively younger and are responding well to the treatment,” said Ravi.

The principal secretary said that currently, the cases are scattered, and all have come from different countries – Spain, Finland, USA, UAE and UK – in past fortnight. “Thus, our priority is to ensure that the spread is contained from spread in community. So far there are no cases of person-to-person contact and we are thus emphasizing on stringent quarantine,” she said.

On the lines of Maharashtra, Gujarat would also start hand-stamping on the persons under quarantine. Ravi said that the practice has started from Thursday evening. “We had initially thought of wrist band, but we realized that it could be removed easily. We trust people, but we are getting instances daily of the quarantine breach – which is dangerous for public safety – and thus decision of hand stamping is taken,” said Ravi.

The health department officials said that those breaching the home quarantine should be reported immediately on 104 helpline or the district health officer or collector office.

“Those flouting rules would be shifted to the government quarantine. We are aware about the apprehensions in members of society, but we are taking all precautions to ensure that the quarantined persons are observed closely and we are also doing community-based survey to identify persons who have foreign travel history apart from arrival to Ahmedabad and Surat international airports,” Ravi said.

On Thursday alone, 559 travellers had come to Gujarat out of whom 63 were put under quarantine, whereas 492 were put under home quarantine.

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