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Gujarat relaxes lockdown, allows buses and government offices to operate from Monday


AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government on Saturday night announced further relaxations in lockdown starting next Monday, following the Central government's latest guidelines.

State transport and city buses would be allowed to operate across Gujarat and government offices will function at full capacity from Monday.

Curfew will be in force between 9 pm to 5 am instead of 7 pm to 7 am earlier, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said in a video message.

"Instead of lockdown, the word `unlock' is being used, as we are going in the direction of unlocking everything. In the last ten days we already offered massive relaxations in most of the areas except parts of Ahmedabad and Surat," he said.

"In this new unlocking effort, we have to continue to work with coronavirus without any economic blockade so that no work is hampered," Rupani said.

"We are removing the odd-even rule for shops, as now markets will be allowed to open with the only condition that everybody wears face mask and maintains social distancing," he said.

"State transport and city bus services will be allowed across the state without regional limitation," he said, adding that an ST bus cannot carry more than 60 per cent passenger, while a city bus will have to limit passenger capacity to 50 per cent.

"We had earlier allowed one person on a two-wheeler. We now allow two persons in case they happen to be family members, with mandatory masks. Small four-wheeler will continue to have (maximum of) two passengers along with driver, while three passengers will be allowed along with driver in larger four-wheelers (like SUVs)," he said.

Hotels, restaurants, religious places and shopping malls will operate as per Centre's guidelines to be announced by June 8, he said.

"But no shops other than those dealing in essential services and commodities will be allowed in containment zones. The health department will finalise a new list of containment zones by tomorrow. The implementation of "Unlock-1" will begin from Monday," he said.

The death toll due to coronavirus in Gujarat crossed 1,000-mark and rose to 1,007 with 27 new fatalities on Saturday.

The number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to 16,356 with 412 new patients being reported during the day, the state health department said.

621 patients recovered in the state on Saturday, taking the total number of discharged COVID-19 patients to 9,230.

The state has achieved a recovery rate of 56.4 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 47.4 per cent, the department added.

Two weeks ago, the recovery rate of coronavirus patients in Gujarat was 39.2 per cent, it said.

Ahmedabad district reported 284 new coronavirus cases and 24 deaths on Saturday.

Gandhinagar, Mehsana and Banaskantha districts reported one death each.

The number of coronavirus cases in Vadodara crossed 1,000 -mark on Saturday after 28 new patients were found, the tally has thus reached 1,009.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Surat rose to 1,565 with 55 new cases.

As many as 18 districts reported fresh coronavirus cases.

2,43,845 people have been quarantined in Gujarat, 8,144 of them have been lodged in various quarantine facilities.

Gujarat COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 16,356, new cases 412, deaths 1,007, discharged 9,230, active cases 6,119 and people tested so far 2,05,780.