To spread awareness and nudge people into getting their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, only fully vaccinated people will be allowed to access services of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) from Monday.
“We want to make sure that all eligible people get fully vaccinated leaving no chance for further infections. Due to some unknown reasons, the citizens who had taken the first dose are showing carelessness about their second doses that are due. Security staff have been deployed at various public utility centres of SMC and other places and zone offices to check the Covid certificates of the visitors,” said SMC Health officer Dr Pradip Umrigar. The services restricted to those not fully vaccinated include the city and BRTS bus services, garden, zoo, science centre, swimming pools, aquarium, Gopitalo (amusement park), libraries, and all zonal and ward offices of SMC. Partially vaccinated citizens will be allowed for such services only after Covid tests.
Around 6.68 lakh people are yet to take their second dose in Surat. According to the SMC health department, of the eligible targeted population of 34.32 lakh people, 36.44 lakh people (106.17 per cent) have taken their first dose, while 21.43 lakh people (76.22 per cent) are fully vaccinated. This means that a total of 57.87 lakh people or 62.43 per cent of the eligible population have been partially and fully vaccinated in Surat. Meanwhile, of the 175 centres in the city where the vaccination drive is being carried out, second doses are given only at 120 centres.
The strict measures come at a time when it has come to light that around 3,000 SMC employees are yet to take their second doses due to various reasons and the heads of all municipal departments have been intimated to ensure their staffers get fully vaccinated.
The move comes at a time when the economic capital of Gujarat is coming out of the Diwali vacation and returning to normalcy. The civic body has raised its guard as residents are returning to the city after the vacation.
“As the people are returning to the city after their vacations, we have also set up Covid tests at the five entry and exit points of the city as well as at the airport, bus depots and railway stations, etc. Prior to Diwali, we were carrying out around 4,000 tests per day, but now we have increased the testing to up to 7,200 tests per day. In coming days we will carry out tests of 10,000 people per day,” Umrigar added.
Currently, Surat has 39 active cases. While three positive cases were reported Friday, the figure rose to seven Saturday.