SURAT: The Gujarat government has placed an order to procure 3 lakh Remdesivir injections for the treatment of critical COVID-19 patients in the state, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said on Tuesday.
Remdesivir is considered a key anti-viral drug in the fight against COVID-19, especially in adult patients with severe complications.
On the possibility of imposing a lockdown in the state as suggested by the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday, Rupani said an "appropriate decision" will be taken soon after consulting the government's core group.
Rupani was in Surat to chair a meeting of senior officials to review the preparedness of the local administration to deal with a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in the city, where over 600 new infections were reported on Monday.
He urged people not to panic in view of an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the state.
"The COVID-19 infection has spread further. As much as 60 per cent of the cases (in Gujarat) are from four major cities, including Surat."
"And, it seems that cases will increase further. But, people should not panic. People should take necessary precautions to stay safe," Rupani told reporters after the meet.
"People are complaining about a shortage of Remdesivir. My government has placed an order to procure 3 lakh Remdesivir injections from a Gujarat-based pharma company, which has already started supplying around 20,000 injections every day. There will not be any shortage now," he assured.
The chief minister said his government has stepped up the vaccination drive as well as testing to curb the spread of the coronavirus infection.
Around 1.2 lakh persons are now being tested for coronavirus across the state daily, while an average 4 lakh beneficiaries are being covered under the vaccination drive per day, said Rupani.
He said Surat will get 300 ventilators, 50 new 'Sanjeevani Rath' (medical) vans and 800 additional beds at Kidney Hospital for coronavirus patients.
The state on Tuesday announced a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in 20 cities in the state, which will come into force from Wednesday, till April 30.
Earlier in the day, the Gujarat High Court had observed that the COVID-19 situation in the state was getting "out of control", and suggested a curfew or lockdown could be imposed for three to four days to break the infection chain.
Earlier, the curfew was in force from 9 pm to 6 am in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot cities in Gujarat.
The government has also banned political or social gatherings till April 30 and reduced the number of guests who can attend a marriage ceremony.
The decision to impose the night curfew was taken in the meeting of a core group for coronavirus headed by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and principal secretary in Prime Ministers Office (PMO) P K Mishra also joined the meeting held here in the night.
"COVID-19 cases are on the rise every day. Home minister Amit Shah and, principal secretary in the PMO P K Mishra today joined our core group meeting on coronavirus and guided us," Rupani said after attending the meeting.
"The High Court has given us some suggestions and we have decided on it. Earlier we had imposed a curfew in four big cities of the state. Now we have decided to implement a night curfew in 20 cities of the state," Rupani said.
He said the timing of the new curfew will be from 8 pm to 6 am.
Rupani said the Centre will send a team of medical experts to Gujarat which will help the state government to devise a strategy to check the rise in the cases.
The high-level meeting between top officials of the Gujarat government, Shah, and officials of the PMO was held hours after a HC bench headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath observed that the pandemic situation in the state was getting out of control.
The bench suggested that a curfew or lockdown could be imposed for three to four days to break the infection chain.
The cities where the curfew is being imposed are Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamangar, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Gandhinagar, Anand, Nadiad, Mehasana, Morbi, Dahod, Patan, Godhra, Bhuj, Gandhidham, Bharuch, Surendranagar and Amreli.
Meanwhile, in view of the rise in cases, the state government has reduced the number of people who can attend a marriage ceremony to 100 now from 200, the CM said.
"Besides, no political or social gathering will be allowed in the state till April 30. In any other type of gathering, only 50 persons will be allowed," Rupani said.
He said the areas under the poll-bound Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation and Morva Hadaf assembly constituency were exempted from the curbs.
Rupani said the government offices will remain shut in the state every Saturday and Sunday of this month.
The chief minister said the state government has also decided to ramp up the number of RT-PCR tests.
"Contact tracing will be increased to identify the infected people. Such patients will be isolated so that the chain of the infection can be broken. We have decided to strictly implement restrictions in micro containment zones and the help of the police will be taken," he added.
Rupani said 70 per cent of oxygen produced by manufacturers will now be kept reserved for medical use instead of the previous ceiling of 60 per cent.
The CM also said the number of beds in hospitals is being increased and assured that there was no shortage of beds in the state for treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Gujarat reported 3,280 fresh coronavirus positive cases in the last 24 hours, the highest rise in a day, taking the tally of infections to 3,24,878 while 17 deaths pushed the toll to 4,598, according to the state health department.