Patna: With the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic turning bad in Bihar, Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Da (RJD) has flayed Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his failure to tackle the situation and save lives.
Meanwhile, Kumar hinted on Thursday that the state government may impose a lockdown after an all-party meeting on April 17, if the situation does not improve. He said all options, including night curfew, were under consideration and a decision would be taken on the basis of suggestions.
Incidentally, Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey recently ruled out lockdown in the state.
Yadav termed the COVID-19 situation as “very scary” in Bihar. “I have made requests time and again to the Bihar CM to increase the number of ventilators and O2 stocks, but everything fell on deaf ears. Instead of fixing the problem, he fixed headlines, honest officers and fudged the numbers. As a result he wasted a year to find that the state is again in a fix,” the RJD leader said in reference to the state of healthcare infrastructure for testing, tracing and treatment of COVID-19.
Yadav further said that since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, he had been repeatedly coaxing Bihar government to wake up from its slumber to ramp up capacity building of hospitals, increase testing, build makeshift hospitals, quarantine and isolation centres and test everyone arriving in Bihar from outside.
“The situation is very scary in Bihar. In the past two days, two IAS officers and a few other officials have lost their lives. Imagine the plight of commoners. No beds are available even in Patna. Health Secretary has asked for doctors from Indian Army,” Yadav said.
The second wave of the COVID-19 infection has spread fast and also claimed more lives on a daily basis. According to the official website of the state Health Department, COVID-19 cases have been rising in the past two weeks. There were only 74 positive cases reported on March 30 in the state that rose to 4786 on April 14.And total death from COVID-19 to 23,724 in the state.
Bihar’s poor health infrastructure has grabbed headlines several times in the past few years. In April-May 2020, the first wave of COVID-19 had brought to the fore the loopholes in the existing infrastructure. Earlier in 2019, more than 150 children had died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
Yadav’s attack comes at a time when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Nitish Kumar is facing criticism for its lack of ability to control the spread of coronavirus in the state.
According to the government's own admission, there is no vacancy or bed in the government-run hospitals in Patna for admitting and treating COVID-19 positive .In view of this, the health department has given clearance to 47 private hospitals as COVID care centres with 985 beds.
More or less similar situations have been reported in most districts.
Meanwhile, migrant workers have started arriving in the state from Mumbai, Pune, Kerala, Bengaluru and Delhi in the past one week.