Central team questions Ahmedabad civic body's handling of COVID-19 crisis

The team took stock of the situation in Ahmedabad, worst-hit city in Gujarat

HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CASES (File) Representational image

A visiting central team, led by joint secretary in the health ministry Lav Agarwal, on Friday asked some searching questions about the Ahmedabad civic body's strategy of handling the coronavirus situation in certain pockets of the city.

The team visited different areas of Ahmedabad city, the worst-hit by the infection in Gujarat, in the morning to review the measures undertaken by the authorities to contain the spread of coronavirus, said officials.

At one point, Agarwal raised questions over the strategy of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) in declaring "micro-containment" zones as he felt a proactive approach was missing in tackling the crisis.

At Mansi circle, the civic body's medical officer of health, Dr Bhavin Solanki, failed to give a convincing answer when Agarwal sought to know why a particular housing society was not declared a micro-containment zone as soon as the first few cases emerged there in May-end.

"You made this (society) a micro-containment zone on June 19 or 20. If cases were emerging since May-end, then why you took these many days to declare it a micro-containment zone? What was the parameter you applied?" Agarwal asked Solanki, who struggled to give a convincing reply.

The brief conversation was captured on cameras and broadcast by local TV channels.

The two-member team, on a day-long tour of Gujarat, visited some containment zones, a private hospital and the main control room of '108' ambulance service in the city till afternoon.

The team is also expected to visit civil hospital in the city.

The team started its visit from Vasantnagar township in the Gota area of the city, a micro-containment zone, and collected information about the steps taken by the authorities to contain the spread of virus, said the officials.

Its members were explained the functioning of mobile clinic vans, named as 'Dhanvantari Arogya Rath', launched earlier this month by the Ahmedabad municipal corporation to conduct health check-up of people and distribute medicines.

The team then visited micro-containment zones in different areas, including the housing society near Mansi circle, a locality in Shahpur and another society in the Shahibaug area.

In the evening, the team is expected to meet Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and health department officials.

On Thursday, the Union health ministry had announced that its teams will visit Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana between June 26 and 29 to take stock of the coronavirus situation in these states.

Gujarat has so far reported over 29,500 coronavirus cases and 1,750 deaths.

The COVID-19 death rate of Gujarat is amongst the highest at 5.93 per cent in the country.

In Ahmedabad, which has so far registered 19,839 cases and 1,390 deaths, the death rate is as high as 7 per cent.