With Gujarat's Surat falling in the category of Coronavirus hostpot, the city's Mayor said that no standalone, residential colony or individual shops will be allowed to open till at least the lockdown ends on May 3.
"In Surat, there are 21 cluster containment zones declared previously and the opening of shops is restricted there. So majority of Surat is a containment zone," Mayor Jagdish Patel told Republic TV. He further informed that over 450 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Surat and nearly a million people reside in those cluster containment zones.
Mayor Jagdish Patel said that so far, 9,000 people in the city have been tested for COVID-19 and efforts are being made to speed up the testing rate. "We will test more and more people and start their treatment. Our efforts will continue and we will ensure social distancing is followed," he said.
Announcing a massive decision, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday night allowed all shops under the Shops and Establishment Act to reopen from April 25 amid the Coronavirus pandemic. This includes shops in residential complexes and market complexes. However, the order states that the shops will function at 50% strength and precautions against COVID-19 — wearing masks and social distancing — is mandatory.
The Home Ministry has clarified that the relaxation in the given order is not applicable in hotspots and containment zones. It has also prohibited the reopening of shops in multi-brand and single-brand malls.
The Centre on Friday said the COVID-19 situation is especially serious in major or emerging hotspot areas including Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad and Chennai. In a statement, the Home Ministry said that violations of lockdown measures reported in some parts of the country pose a serious health hazard to public and may lead to the spread of COVID-19.
"The situation is especially serious in major hotspot districts or emerging hotspots like Ahmedabad and Surat (Gujarat), Thane (Maharashtra), Hyderabad (Telangana), and Chennai (Tamil Nadu)," the statement said.
The central government has already constituted 10 Interministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) for the spot assessment of the COVID-19 hotspot districts in the country. Five of these teams are on inspection in Ahmedabad, Surat (both Gujarat), Thane (Maharashtra), Hyderabad (Telangana) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu).
(With PTI inputs)