Pandemic a nostalgia for Surat’s own epidemic

COVID-19 Health National

The Gujarat government imposed a curfew in the hotspots in Surat amidst the complete lockdown.

Surbhi Shah

Mumbai, April 17, 2020

Amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 in Surat, Gujarat, the government on Thursday imposed a curfew in five areas of the city.

“The curfew is imposed in the hotspots because the cases are rising and people were not really following proper lockdown orders,” said Tanmay Dhanik, a localite.

A statement released by Gujarat’s Chief Minister Office (CMO) said, “Curfew to be imposed in Salabatpura Police Station area, Mahidharpura police station area, Lalgate Police station area, Athva police station and Limbayat’s Kamrunagar police station area from today midnight ( April 16, 2020) till April 22, 6 am. The curfew will be lifted daily from 1 pm till 4 pm for women only.”

R.B. Brahmabhatt, Surat Police Commissioner, also confirmed the implementation of the curfew order in the city yesterday, while addressing the media.

“Only the women are allowed to get out during the relaxation time…but it is only in these five places. The police is less strict in other parts,” Dhanik added.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) data shows that Gujarat has 930 confirmed cases and 36 deaths.

This is not the first time that Surat is facing a health pandemic like this. In 1994, the city witnessed the outbreak of  the pneumonic plague.

“I still remember the situation people were in…you know like how today the people in quarantine are running away? Back then, hundreds of thousands of people were trying to flee the city…It was horrifying to say the least,” said Tarachand Shah, a business man from Gujarat who frequently visited Surat.

As the people were trying to flee the city, the plague later spread to many parts of the country because of which, later, some of the states closed their borders for the migrators.

“Surat is close to Maharashtra’s border. So many people were trying to enter Maharashtra but they couldn’t. The police and everyone closed the state borders and those who were forcibly getting in were beaten. It was a very bad situation, just like a lockdown, as is going on now. It is all too similar,” said Ketan Shah, a Mumbai resident who had witnessed the Surat plague. Like the 1994 plague, the Surat residents are hoping for this coronavirus pandemic to end soon too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *