Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will visit Surat on Saturday to take stock of the COVID-19 situation as the number of cases in the diamond capital of India continues to increase. There has been a hike in cases after the diamond industries reopened as part of the first phase of the lockdown.
Diamond industries started functioning as per the new guidelines with stricter safety measures. However, several units have been shut following increase in the number of cases.
In the last 24 hours that ended at 5pm on Friday, as many as 687 cases have been reported from Gujarat, with the total number of COVID-19 positive cases reaching 34,686. There was also 19 deaths during the 24-hour period.
According to a government spokesperson, the chief minister, accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who is also health minister, and additional chief secretary to the chief minister K. Kailashnathan will reach Surat on Saturday morning.
Gujarat's principal secretary (health and family welfare) Jayanti Ravi has been in Surat for the last three days, holding meetings with authorities and giving suggestions about containing the spread of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, pan masala shops in Surat will be shut as part of the attempts to contain the disease.
Even as the number of cases in the state has been on the rise, a ray of hope has come from Ahmedabad-based pharma giant Zydus Cadila, that has been given the green signal for a clinical trial of vaccine against COVID-19.
Food and drugs commissioner Dr H.G. Koshia said the effort of the company has made Gujarat proud, and added that the company has successfully completed pre-clinical trials on animals.
According to him, the company will undertake phase 1 and phase 2 trials of the vaccine in about 1,000 persons across the country.
The company had also successfully made vaccine against H1N1. In fact, it was the first one to do so.
Speaking to a section of media, Pankaj Patel of Zydus Cadila said the results of the clinical trials are expected in about three months. He said if the results of phase I and phase 2 trials were found to be favourable, then the DGCI can give special permission to use the vaccine for high risk people or ask for phase 3 trial to cover more people before giving such a permission.
According to him, the company studied the virus and cloned the portion of 'S' protein to obtain antigen which was tested on four animals. The immunity response was good and antibodies could be seen.