Even as Gujarat is witnessing a sudden rise in coronavirus cases, state Health Minister Rushikesh Patel on Thursday said the state government is "determined" to organise the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit next month, for which it has sought a relaxation from the Centre in the seven-day quarantine rule so that international delegates from "at risk" countries can attend the event.
He said the event will benefit the state economically and also generate jobs.
Claiming that the coronavirus situation in the state is "under control", the minister added that from now onwards, only fully vaccinated visitors will be allowed to enter government offices.
The 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would kickstart in Gandhinagar from January 10 next year. The event is aimed at attracting investments in the state by bringing together domestic as well as overseas business leaders, investors, heads of states and officials from across the world.
However, the Centre's revised guidelines about Omicron variant mandates that travellers from "at risk" countries have to undergo a mandatory seven-day quarantine if they test negative for the virus.
"Though the COVID-19 cases are on the rise, the situation is under control in Gujarat, mainly because of our proactive vaccination drive. Unlike the second wave, we are not seeing any major complications in patients today. From now onwards, only fully vaccinated visitors will be allowed to enter government offices," said Patel in Gandhinagar.
He said all the visitors coming to attend Vibrant Summit will have to produce a negative RT-PCR test result to gain entry. The state government will also perform an RT-PCR test at the venue for those who do not have the negative certificate, the minister told reporters.
"Economic activity and new investment is important for Gujarat because that creates employment opportunities. The Gujarat government is determined to welcome those who want to come here and attend the Summit even in this situation. We will organise the Summit by following all the norms, such as RT-PCR tests and social distancing," said Patel when asked if he favors such a mega event in the present scenario.
He defended the event saying that the state will financially benefit from it, which will also create employment opportunities.
"That is why we have consulted the Centre about that rule regarding international travelers. Since the Summit is for Gujarat's benefit, we have urged the Centre to modify the guideline for the visitors (coming from at-risk countries). The Centre will take a final decision about it (relaxations in quarantine rules)," Patel said.
The health minister also said that the Gujarat government will set up camps at schools to inoculate as many as 35 lakh eligible children in the age group of 15 to 18 years as per the guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry. The mega vaccination drive would take place between January 3 and 9 across the state, he said.
On Thursday, Gujarat reported 573 new cases and two deaths.
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