Section 144 imposed in Ahmedabad to prevent swine flu as toll mounts to 231 in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD: Ahmedabad district collector invoked the Criminal Procedure Code's Section 144 here on Tuesday, prohibiting mass gatherings without prior permission in order to prevent swine flu, an official statement stated.

"It has come to our notice that swine flu cases have been on the rise in Gujarat including Ahmedabad. The virus, which causes swine flu, is contagious and generally infects people by entering through nostrils and mouth mostly at crowded places," the Ahmedabad district collectorate statement said.

The move has come after Gujarat registered more than 230 swine flu deaths, which include more than 50 fatalities in Ahmedabad, since January this year.

The number of positive cases swine flu recorded in Gujarat is 3,527 and the disease has caused the highest number of deaths in Gujarat compared to other states in the country.

However, the Collector has exempted people gathering at marriages and death processions from Section 144.

If public events cannot be called off or postponed, organisers would have to take prior permission also have to ensure that proper care is being taken to stop the spread of swine flu, like providing masks to all people as well as dispose off these masks after their use, the statement said.

It added that organizers of such events should display big billboards with swine flu prevention measures like washing of hands with soap at regular intervals.

Meanwhile, swine flu on Tuesday claimed 12 more lives in Gujarat, taking the total number of deaths due to the H1N1 virus to 231 so far even as 190 new positive cases were detected in a day.

"Gujarat has recorded 12 swine flu deaths and 231 new cases today. While the total number of deaths has climbed to 231, and that of positive cases to 3,527 since January this year," according to an official statement issued by Gujarat government.

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