Madhya Pradesh started the fight against coronavirus a bit late as the state was undergoing a political turmoil. The difficulties for the BJP led govt increased, even more, when the top health authorities tested positive for coronavirus.
Principal Health Secretary, Pallavi Jain Govil, Managing Director of MP Health Corporation J Vijay Kumar and CEO of State Ayushman Bharat were found COVID-19 positive. This put the state under a very tough situation as the health dept officials went under quarantine to fight coronavirus.
The govt decided to downplay the news but as a bitter consequence, the virus spread among the other health officials infecting many others as well.
The officials were unwilling to turn to the hospitals and as the director of AIIMS Bhopal Dr. Sarman Singh writes:
“This is about the telephonic call received from your good self and Shri Faiz Ahmad Kidwai, health commissioner, regarding the unwillingness of some of your officials who are asymptomatic to get hospitalized at AIIMS, Bhopal.”
Director recommended such asymptomatic patients to stay at their homes in self-isolation to prevent the virus from spreading further.
Shivraj Singh Chauhan clearly mentioned that every COVID-19 positive patient should be hospitalised.
A senior doctor from AIIMS expressed disappointment and said:
“If senior government officials would defy basic norms of the Covid-19 protocol, what can we expect from common people,”
The infected officials did not have any travel history from where they could have contracted the virus. It is assumed that they got infected while they were meeting consecutively to plan out the pandemic crisis.
Meanwhile, the commissioner P Narhari who is also a member of the Coronavirus control team said:
“We are trying to know the reasons for the series of infections. We are also tracking people they met in the meantime.’’
WHO declared Coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The state was in a political dilemma and after re[eare warning from other countries the state’s officials still visited resorts and held meetings together.
On 23 March the charge of MP was taken by the BJP govt and Shivraj Singh Chauhan took oath as MP’s CM on March 23. On 25 March PM Narendra Modi announced a nationwide 21- day lockdown to combat Coronavirus.
Former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath said:
“In February, when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alerted about the possible dangers of coronavirus, the BJP was busy toppling an elected government and serving the rebel MLAs in Bengaluru,”
A political and social activist Sachin Shrivastav said:
“The state government is defunct at this crucial juncture. Chouhan is clueless. In the absence of a health minister, every decision-making is left to him and officers. The state suffered because of their negligence,”
“The government launched seven helpline numbers, but to no help.”
The miseries do not end here, Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors are more vulnerable and at high risk of being infecting. The gas tragedy victims have low immunity and therefore are in danger.
An activist Rachna Dhingra addressed the problem and said:
“The state government forcefully converted Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) into a COVID-19 hospital over a fortnight ago, but not a single COVID-19 case has been admitted there. Nearly 350,000 gas victims are dependent on this hospital for treatment. The government did not provide an alternative. The result? Three gas victims who used get treatment at BMHRC died within 15 days.”
“Gas tragedy survivors have a weak immune system and this puts them at greater risk of contracting Covid-19,”
The officials got an order to return to their offices and resume duties:
“To fight the Covid-19 pandemic, it is necessary to widely publicise all the concerned government actions. All the officers — additional director to assistant information officers — are hereby directed to come to the office regularly,”
The absence of P Narhari has shaken the dept when asked about the strategy to fight against the pandemic, the official answered:
‘Every public representative is somehow part of this fight. The CM is consistently coordinating with MLAs and MPs of the state. Our priority is to control the epidemic.’’
Narhari in his defense told about the govt initiative to combat the virus and said:
‘‘Instead of the initial five labs, tests are now being conducted at 7 labs. Per day tests have increased from 100 to 1,050 in a couple of days. More than 2,000 ICU beds and over 2.4 million hydroxychloroquine tablets are available in the state,”
Clearly the state is fighting hard from the virus and due to the lack of the officials, the struggles have increased for Shivraj govt. MP has so far reported 528 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 36 deaths.