Published on April 26, 2020

AHMEDABAD: In early February, Kerala reported India’s first Covid-19 positive case. The state was neck-to-neck in reporting of the new cases. But gradually, the rate of new cases went down there and today, out of 458 total positive cases, 338 have already recovered. Out of remaining, four are dead and 116 are recuperating.
Compared to that, in last 34 days Gujarat has touched 3,071 with 133 deaths and 282 recovered as per the data available on April 25.
Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary (health & family welfare), on Sunday mentioned that a different strain of Covid-19 could be responsible for the phenomenon.

Talking to media on Sunday morning, the principal secretary mentioned that they had a detailed discussion with state-based experts, including Dr Atul Patel. “He has some evidence that the strain of virus active in Gujarat is slightly different (than Kerala). IT could be one of the reasons why our recovery rate is slower than some other states,” she said.

Ravi compared Gujarat to the European countries having population of about 5 to 6.5 crore – same as Gujarat’s 6.5 crore population – to argue that the state and India at large has fared much better due to timely lockdown.

“We completed 35 days of the first Covid-19 patient in the state. Today we have 3,071 cases. If we compare the figure to a few of European nations of the same size, Spain had 94,410 cases, Italy 80,536 and France 56,972,” she said.

She said that several factors ranging from BCG vaccine given to Indians, warmer climate to stringent measures initiated by the government could be responsible for the phenomenon.

Ravi mentioned that Gujarat has increased its daily testing capacity for Covid-19 from 3,150 last week to 3,770 with ICMR nod to labs at GMERS Medical Colleges in Gandhinagar and Valsad for the purpose. In the first week, Gujarat was carrying out 150 tests daily.

The state health department officials said that Gujarat today has 10,500 beds in dedicated Covid-19 hospitals including 300 in private set-ups and 3,850 in private hospitals covered under PM-JAY and MA Amrutam schemes.

Likewise, the state has 150 facilities with 22,385 beds for the asymptomatic patients and patients that do not require intensive care. The figure includes 7 facilities run by municipal corporations with 4,370 beds and proposed 33 facilities with 5,309 beds.

“We also have adequate ventilators, 1,061 ventilators are available in the government hospitals whereas we have repository of 1,700 ventilators in private hospitals,” said Ravi. “We have already given order for 1,000 more ventilators.”

Health department officials said that about 150 Gujarat-made Dhaman I ventilators have been received and distributed to various hospitals across the state.

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