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Implement the five-fold strategy: Centre

From Jharkhand’s wailing daughter to a brother in Madhya Pradesh running for Remdesivir for his sister admitted in a hospital to pathetic black marketing of Remdesivir by hospital staff in Chhattisgarh’s hospital, the situation in the country is extremely alarming. Covid cases are rising at a high pace and a section of public is least concerned about it leading them and even others into huge trouble.

 With approximately more than13,000 daily cases for a week now, the active tally stands at 1.21 lakh. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Friday chaired high-level meeting and reviewed the status of COVID19 in Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh along with Maharashtra are the only three states in the country that have more than one lakh active cases now. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan informed Chhattisgarh that their demand for 10 litres and 45-litre jumbo oxygen cylinders and additional ventilators having high flow nasal cannula will be met very soon.

 Chhattisgarh has reported a nearly 6.2 percent increase in weekly new COVID cases. Shortage ICUs and oxygen-supported hospital beds are turning out to be difficult for the public. The State is advised to increase the number of isolation beds, oxygen beds, ventilators, ICU beds, and ambulances. Further, Chhattisgarh has been asked to focus on reducing the death rate by early identification of positive cases. The Union Health Ministry has advised to increase dedicated COVID-19 beds and use the available buildings in the Hospital campus for creation of additional COVID19 wards. The Health Ministry also ordered the states to increase testing in all districts with a minimum of 70 percent RT-PCR tests and use of Rapid Antigen Tests as screening tests in densely populated areas.

The Centre asked to deploy volunteers, retired doctors, nurses to augment the strength of the health workforce as house-to-house tracing of symptomatic patients is the need of the hour. Also, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh along with Uttar Pradesh are advised to follow the five-fold strategy of test-track-Covid appropriate behaviour, vaccination. With 15,256 new coronavirus cases reported on Thursday, Chhattisgarh saw its highest single-day spike, taking the state’s caseload to 5,01,500. The state has been witnessing over 10,000 daily cases in the last ten to twelve days.

 The worst-hit Raipur and Durg districts reported 3,438 and 1,778 new cases, respectively, in the day. While the total count of infection in Raipur reached 1,06,319, including 1,431 deaths, Durg’s caseload increased to 62,166, including 1,054 deaths. Rajnandgaon recorded 1,319 new cases, Bilaspur 1,139, and Balodabazar 616 among other districts. Of some of the latest fatalities, 105 were reported on Thursday and Wednesday while 30 earlier. With 53,454 samples tested on Thursday, the total number of tests in the state went up to 64,16,401.

 Doctors at AIIMS-Raipur said that the state needs to increase the number of oxygen beds by 10 times. Also, Chhattisgarh would need 70,000 oxygen-equipped beds for every 1 lakh active cases, against nearly 7000 oxygen-equipped beds at present. The AIIMS Director Dr. Nitin M Nagarkar said, “Nearly 70% of patients reaching hospitals are struggling with breathlessness and require oxygen support”. Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 in India, when an acute shortage of Remdesivir drug looms across the country, it was reported that in a hospital in Chhattisgarh, the drug is being black marketed. From ward boys to doctors, the black marketing of the rug is carried out in the hospital. When the ward boy demanded cash of Rs10,000 for the single dose, the doctor went on demanding Rs16,000 for a single dose. In midst of such a heart-wrenching condition, the Chhattisgarh State government passed an upsetting new rule. According to the order of the ruling Congress government in the state, the family members of any person who dies of COVID-19 will have to pay Rs. 2,500 to secure the “storage” and the “carriage” of the lifeless body.

 Situations in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand are not very different. The curfew in Bhopal and several other districts including Berasia has been extended till 6 am on 26th April said collector Avinash Lavaniya. The Indore District collector Manish Singh in an order said, the curfew is extended till 23rd April. The partial lockdown has been in effect in the district since April 12. Indore has recorded 87,625 COVID-19 cases, including 1,040 casualties so far. The district currently has 9,848 active cases.  Madhya Pradesh on Saturday recorded its highest single-day spike of 11,269 and witnessed 66 deaths along with 6,497 people getting discharged from the hospital. Amidst such a huge spike in cases, the MP school education department on Friday (April 16) decided to cancel the exams for classes 9 and 11 after postponing the class 10 and 12 board exams in Madhya Pradesh.

 Madhya Pradesh would soon get 450 metric tonnes of medical oxygen from other states for the treatment of critical COVID-19 patients, said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday. “I had requested Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for oxygen supply to Madhya Pradesh. Transportation of oxygen is being done on a war footing” the CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said. He added that support of private sector is also taken.

He further stated, “Continuous efforts are being made to procure Remdesivir. We got 10,000 (vials of the medicine) by Wednesday night. Private hospitals are shipping the injections from their sources. The state government has placed an order of 50,000 injections”.

 Like Chhattisgarh, black marketing of the Remdesivir injections is reported in Madhya Pradesh also. The Madhya Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force (STF) on Thursday arrested a medical shop owner and two others for allegedly black marketing Remdesivir injections used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The arrested persons were identified as Rajesh Patidar, Gyaneshwar Baraskar, and Anurag Singh Sisodia, as stated by senior police official Manish Khatri said. He further stated, “They were arrested based on a tip-off. The STF officials retrieved 12 vials of injections of two different brands from them. It was printed on the packet of these vials that they are meant for export only.” The maximum sale price wasn’t printed on them, they were trying to sell each injection at Rs. 20,000, the official said.

On Thursday, the Crime Branch of Indore Police arrested a pharma company owner for allegedly selling fake Remdesivir injections. The arrested man, identified as Vinay Shankar Tripathi, is accused of taking advantage of the situation by selling fake Remdesivir injections. “Around 400 Remdesivir vials have been recovered from the accused’s car that was found to be fake after being investigated by the drug department. He owns a pharma company in Indore’s Pithampur. He planned to take advantage of the drug shortage and make money” Guru Prasad Parashar, Additional Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch said. A case has been registered against the accused under various sections, including fraud. The seized fake injections were to be sold for Rs. 20 lakh on the black market.

 According to reports, a suspected patient of Covid 19 was wrongly declared dead twice by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical College, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh. The authorities also issued a death certificate of Gorelal Kori, aged 58, who is a resident of Sultania village of Vidisha district, who was on a ventilator. The college’s dean said the man almost died once but the hospital staff pumped his heart for nearly two hours to revive him.

 Also, the Madhya Pradesh government on Saturday directed all district collectors to quarantine people returning from Kumbh Mela being held in Uttarakhand.

The Covid tally in Jharkhand crossed the 1.5 lakh mark, while the active caseload jumped above 20,000 on Thursday as the state reported close to 3,500 Covid cases and 28 casualties in 24 hours, figures compiled by the National Health Mission (NHM) highlighted. The 28 deaths reported on Thursday took the Covid toll in the state to 1320.

3,198 new infections also pushed the caseload of the state to 1,47,792. 1,27,976 patients have recovered from the disease so far. Out of the fresh fatalities, nine deaths were reported from the East Singhbhum district and seven from Ranchi. The remaining casualties were registered in several other districts. The 3,198 new positive cases included 1273 in Ranchi and 368 in West Singhbum districts. A total of 36756 samples were tested for COVID-19 in the state in the last 24 hours.

“Mantriji, doctor chillate reh gaye koi poochne nahi aaya aadhe ghanta tak…yahan ka halat itna kharab hai, yahi mar gaye (papa) tadap tadap ke…. khali vote lene ke liye aate hain“. (“Mr. Minister, we kept yelling for doctors till half-an-hour, but no-one turned up, conditions are so worst here… my dad died, you only seek votes.”) These are the words of a 30-year-old woman who lost her father. The woman travelled from Hazaribagh to Ranchi Sadar Hospital with her father Pawan Gupta for his treatment. She said that, on reaching the hospital, no one came to check on her father. She kept crying for doctors but none appeared and her father breathed his last. This is a mirror of disintegrating health infrastructure.

 Across the country, the visuals at health centres are every horrifying, dead bodies are dumped in garbage vans, there is no place even for cremation of bodies. It is not the time to blame the state or central government, rather as responsible citizens of the Nation it is our responsibility to strictly abide by COVID rules. We need to fight this together; we won the first wave and we will surely win the second COVID wave.

Krushna Patel

Intern, Goa

DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author

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