'No religious discrimination in fight against COVID-19'

Amidst rising death toll, Gujarat CM says no religious discrimination in fight against coronavirus

Gujarat chief minister said that number of deaths is rising in the state mainly because of pre-existing diseases

Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani file photo (PTI Photo)

The coronavirus death toll in Gujarat surpassed 150 on Sunday after 18 more patients, all in Ahmedabad, passed away in the last 24 hours, the state health department data said, taking the death toll to 151. A steep surge in total number of cases was also recorded with detection of 230 fresh cases in 30 districts that spiked the total cases to 3,301. Gujarat is worst hit from the virus after Maharashtra in terms of number of cases as well as deaths. 

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani in his video message said that number of deaths is rising in the state mainly because of pre-existing diseases or comorbid conditions among the patients. The health department's data on Sunday said that 10 out of 18 patients had diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. However, in eight cases, the patients did not have any such ailments.
In his 15 minutes video message, Rupani also claimed that "people are asking him questions whether he relaxed lockdown to create conducive atmosphere for Muslims observing Ramzan." 
He said "Lockdown easing was announced after central government's notification yesterday and based on that we had announced reopening of shops for small businessmen who are actually suffering. But, we have dropped four major cities, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot and Surat, from such relaxation since they account for more than 80 per cent of total cases." 
Rupani also highlighted that "Maximum cases of virus spread are in the areas where Muslims are in majority and these areas are under clusters which were under curfew till recently. These areas are under complete lockdown even today and no shops apart from essentials for life are allowed to run."
 
Saying that people are spreading false information, Rupani said, "We are not discriminating among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians. The government is fighting coronavirus for the safety of all 6.5 crore Gujarati public. It is sad that at a time when the virus is impacting entire humankind, some people are playing politics." 
Rupani, however, did not name anyone for playing politics or spreading false information. Meanwhile, state police has registered over 430 FIRs and arrested 830 offenders in nearly a moth for spreading fake and hate messages.
Earlier on Saturday, state government's public information department released photos of Muslim patients being treated at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital offering prayers. The government also shared information regarding food at 3 am and 6 am as required for those patients observing Ramzan fasting.