Gujarat reports 15 deaths, 191 fresh COVID-19 cases

Gujarat reports lowest tests in four days, reports 15 deaths, 191 fresh COVID-19 cases

Representative image. (PTI Photo)

Even as Gujarat grapples with the rising number of coronavirus cases with every passing day, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday said that it is "well prepared to tackle the situation" and defended its efforts in containing the virus. He said that "it is not important" to talk where does Gujarat figure in the list of worst-affected states in the country. 

Meanwhile, on Friday Gujarat reported one of the lowest number of tests it undertook in the past one week. According to the latest data released by the state government only 1,438 samples were tested in the past 24 hours compared to 2,963 on April 23. On April 22, the state had tested 2,516 samples and the number was 3,513 on April 21. While on April 20, a total of 4,212 samples were tested, the highest in 24 hours. On April 20, the total cases in the state were nearly 1,900 which rose to more than 2,800 on Friday while it added 56 new deaths in these five days.

Track live updates on coronavirus here

As a matter of fact, for the past two days, the state government also changed the format of its news bulletin in which it used to give a total number of tests undertaken in the past 24 hours. Since Thursday, it also stopped giving data of new cases in the morning bulletin on the ground that it used to create "confusion" in the compilation of data.

When journalists asked during news briefing whether the state is lowering the number of tests since the number of positive cases was increasing alarmingly, Principal Secretary, Health, Jayanti Ravi denied it. She claimed that the state is testing nearly 3000 samples every day.

She said that state is setting up a new lab in Gandhinagar for which nod has been granted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and permission has been sought to start another lab in Bhuj for testing more samples. She also said that state is planning to test more in the coming days and Ahmedabad, the major hotspot of virus that alone has 1,821 cases, has the highest number of tests per million compared to other places in the country.  

On the other hand, chief minister Rupani made his first public speech on Friday after isolating himself for a week following a meeting with a Congress MLA Imran Khedawala who tested positive. Rupani attributed the rising numbers of infected persons to "intense testing" exercise undertaken by the state and comorbid conditions or pre-existing diseases behind the increase in the number of deaths of COVID-19 patients.

"Some people are asking why Gujarat is second among the affected state. I want to say that such a ranking is not important. We are doing everything possible to contain the virus. We had searched all the 6,0000 people who had travelled history but it was only after members of Tablighi Jamaat who returned from their congregation in Nizamuddin, Delhi that spiked the infection," the chief minister said. He added that the state is prepared to tackle the situation and will soon have over 25,000 beds and other facilities to take care of COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Gujarat on Friday reported 15 more deaths and 191 fresh cases, taking the total death toll to 127 and the total number of cases to 2,815. According to the data, in the past five days, 56 patients have died while more than 900 new cases have been added that has put Gujarat in the list of second worst-affected states after Maharashtra in the country. On Friday, the mortality rate was found to be a little over 4.5% which more than one per cent higher than the national average.