Chandigarh: Haryana Chief Secretary Vijay Vardhan’s suggestion to impose a lockdown in Gurgaon and Faridabad, to arrest the surge in Covid cases, found unexpected support from Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala.
Vardhan Friday moved a file, making a strong case for a weeklong lockdown in the two districts, which was sent to Home Minister Anil Vij, Deputy CM Chautala and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
The chief secretary warned that if cases continued to rise in Gurugram and Faridabad, their health infrastructure is likely to come under immense pressure in the coming week.
Vij, who is otherwise known for his strict standards on Covid violations, was not in favour of a lockdown at present and rejected the proposal. When the file reached Chautala’s desk, he agreed to the recommendation, finding Vardhan’s grounds valid, but CM Khattar put an end to the recommendation with a final no to any sort of lockdown, highly-placed sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said.
The sources said the final decision was taken in light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent speech where he asked states to impose lockdowns only as a last resort.
ThePrint reached the chief minister’s office and Chautala via text messages and calls for official comments but received no response till the publishing of this report.
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‘Dire straits in Gurugram’
Both Gurugram and Faridabad have been witnessing a massive surge in Covid cases in the past few weeks. This has led to squabbling within the Haryana government on the possibility of strict measures to curb cases and avoid a health crisis like in Delhi.
In his recommendation, Vardhan wrote: “The number of new cases in Gurugram have increased from 381 on the 1st of April to 3553 yesterday that is on 22nd April. It may be noted that on 8th April, Gurugram had 741 new Covid cases and the number doubled a week later to 1434 on 15th April. Yesterday, the number was more than doubled to 3553.”
He added that if the same rate of growth continues, Gurugram will be seeing about 8,000 to 10,000 Covid cases everyday in the next week.
“It may be noted that the total number of active cases in Gurugram on 1st of April was 2147 which more than doubled to 4454 on 8th April and further increased to 7740 on 15th April. Yesterday that is on 22nd April the total number of active cases in Gurugram per 18119,” the chief secretary said in his file, a copy of which was seen by ThePrint.
He warned that the active cases are likely to increase to 30,000 to 50,000 in the district in the coming week.
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‘Health infrastructure collapsing’
In the file moved before the CM, Vardhan also highlighted that hospitals and medical facilities in Gurugram were already under immense pressure and could collapse if cases and patients continued to rise.
“As per the analysis of the integrated disease surveillance program wing, out of the total active cases 20% cases need hospitalization, 10 to 15% need oxygen support and 3% need ventilator support. Based on the current growth rate, we would need 3000 to 5000 oxygen beds at a time in Gurugram, a week from now,” said Vardhan.
He added: “I have spoken to Mr Yash Garg, deputy commissioner, Gurugram and Mr Vinay Pratap Singh IAS commissioner municipal corporation Gurugram and they have informed me that approximately 500 patients needing Oxygen support are being admitted in government / private hospitals in Gurugram everyday and hospital infrastructure is under unbearable strain and will be unable to cope with any significant increase of patients.”
The chief secretary further noted that the district is facing an acute shortage of paramedical staff such as nurses in private hospitals and doctors are also overworked.
Faridabad was also witnessing a similar situation, noted Vardhan and said: “In view of these facts it is proposed that we may impose a week long lockdown in Gurugram and Faridabad immediately so as to slow down the pace of infection / spread of Covid-19 contagion.”
Fresh instructions on Covid surge
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Vardhan also issued a set of exhaustive directions for six of the worst-hit districts in Haryana besides Gurugram and Faridabad in Hisar, Panchkula, Sonepat and Karnal.
He suggested imposing Section 144 to avoid large gatherings and said that no shops should be allowed to remain open after 6pm.
The guidelines also noted that all employees of the IT (Information Technology) and ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) industries should be allowed to work from home till 3 May.
The final decision in this matter was, however, left to the deputy commissioners concerned.
Following another meeting of the Covid crisis committee Sunday, all the districts have decided to comply with the instructions.
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