JAIPUR: As the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge, Rajasthan recorded a new daily high of 4,401 cases and 18 deaths on Saturday. The capital city is the worst hit and saw 767 new cases on Friday, the highest number of coronavirus cases that Jaipur has ever seen in a day since the start of the pandemic last year.
Amid the sharply rising cases of COVID-19 in the state, the Rajasthan government has imposed night curfew from Saturday till April 30 in 10 cities - Ajmer, Alwar, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur and Abu Road. The night curfew in Ajmer, Alwar, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota and Abu Road will stay from 8 pm to 6 am but in Udaipur, the curfew will start from 6 pm and last till 6 am.
Earlier, night curfew was imposed between 10 pm and 6 am till 19 April. The decision to increase the span of curfew and extend the period till April 30 was taken in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to review the Covid-19 situation in the state. CM Gehlot has also directed officials to create ‘micro-containment zones’ in affected cities and ensure "zero-mobility" in those zones to prevent the rapid spread of coronavirus.
With 18 deaths reported on Saturday, the total number of pandemic deaths in the state has now risen to 2,916. As a result, the recovery rate has fallen from 96.35% on March 31 to 92.38%.
While the number of active cases has gone beyond 27,000, Rajasthan government has also flagged vaccine shortage in the state and asked for an ‘immediate’ supply of doses. Stating that the vaccines will run out of stock in the state in two days, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday requesting for 30 lakh doses.
Vaccine centres in several districts have been forced to close down. The situation in Jaipur was confirmed by CMHO Narottam Sharma who said, “ we have a severe shortage of doses. As a result, 262 of 380 centres in Jaipur have now been closed down. We only have 10,000 doses left though we need about 60,000 doses per day.”
Talking to TNIE, Raghuraj Singh, the Project Director for Immunisation in the State Health Department, remarked, “we are just left with 5 lakh vaccine doses now and the Centre has told us to send only around 4 lakh vaccine doses by evening on Sunday. It is very difficult to cope up since the daily vaccination has gone up to around 6 lakhs a day. Ideally, we should have a buffer for seven days and we don't know when we will get the next supply"
Besides vaccine shortage, demand for Remdesivir that is used to treat Covid patients has shot up. Though the state had given 10,000 Remdesivir injections to Punjab three weeks ago, now the Health Department is left with only 20,000 doses and has sent special requests to medical suppliers to provide Remdesivir doses on priority.
In addition, CM Gehlot countered the Centre’s claim of no shortage of Covid-19 vaccine in the country and even issued a statement to demand that the Centre should clarify the status of vaccine doses in public. “No politics is being done in the work of vaccination but it is clear from the facts that there is a shortage of vaccines in many states. The central government should clarify the status of vaccine doses in public,” Gehlot stated.
CM Gehlot further stated that PM Modi has called for celebrating ‘Teeka Utsav’ from Jyotiba Phule Jayanti on April 11 to Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14 but the vaccine is not available in many states. Gehlot said that Union ministers Amit Shah and Ravi Shankar Prasad have made factually false claims by saying there is no shortage of vaccines.