Surat is better positioned now to defeat the coronavirus pandemic than last month as reflected in encouraging signs like drop in growth rate of new cases, doubling rate and deaths besides more testing, the state government told the Gujarat High Court on Monday.
While hearing aPIL on issues related to COVID-19 and lockdown, a division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwalahad earlier asked the government to file a reply on its preparedness to tackle the pandemic in the south Gujarat district.
The bench had earlier observed that "delayed response" from the government and local administration has caused the pandemic situation to go "from bad to worse.
Surat has been reporting the highest number of COVID- 19 cases in the last few weeks, overtaking Ahmedabad which was earlier the worst-hit district in Gujarat.
"In every domain, right from testing per million per day, recovery rate, growth rate of new cases, doubling rate, death rate, operational Dhanvantri raths, 104 calls attended, total beds availability, the (Surat) district today is far better positioned to defeat the pandemic.
"And the said fact is reflected from the trends right from July 4 to August 10," the government told the HC.
To illustrate the point, the government furnished figures, as per which the COVID-19 recovery rate of Surat city improved to 77.3 per cent on August 13 from 64 per cent on July 10, while testing per million rose to 1,288.6 compared to 130 on July 4.
Also, growth rate of new coronavirus cases fell to 1.82 per cent on August 13 compared to 4.13 per cent on July 4. Daily positive case was 181 on August 13 compared to 205 on July 4, peaking at 217 on July 15 and July 30, the government told the bench.
Fatalities dropped to four a day after rising to 14 a day on July 21, it said.
Informing the court about initiatives taken to control the pandemic, the government said 17 COVID-19 isolation centres were made operational, a "first-of-its-kind" measure in the country.
As many as 110 "Dhanvantari" raths are being operated daily attending an average 275 individuals. Also, 297 convalescent plasmas were collected to treat over 260 patients, of which 60 per cent have shown positive response, the government said.
"Dhanvantari" raths (vehicles) function as mobile OPDs.
The Surat civic body has also adopted the strategy of rapid response to "104" helpline to identify patients early and set up Suraksha Kavach Committees to ensure strict enforcement of COVID-19 norms in containment zones, it said.
The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) is making extensive use of pulse oximeter, has set up zone-wise "war rooms", started training for diamond, textile industry workers, migrant labourers besides pushing for plasma therapy treatment, among other steps, it said.
In terms of infrastructure, beds have been made available in two government hospitals and 44 private hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients, the government said.
Around 900 patients have been administered Tocilizumab injections so far, and more than 2,200 patients given Ramdesivir medicine, both free of cost, it told the court.
Additional 400 ventilators have been provided to hospitals, including private ones, in Surat, the government said.