Representational image. | Image Courtesy: Pixabay
Bhopal: The number of Health Department officials and personnel, who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh has gone up to 94, the state government said.
Majority of these of cases are from Bhopal, which has so far reported 196 cases. Four people have been discharged from hospitals while five have died. Meanwhile, Principal Secretary Pallavi Jain Kowal and IAS officer J Vijay Kumar again tested positive on Wednesday.
No action against Health Dept officials
The Health department reported its first case in Bhopal on April 2 when the managing director in the National Health Mission tested positive. Two days later, another IAS officer contracted the virus. An additional director in the department, who returned from a foreign country, too, tested positive. On Saturday, the principal secretary in the department, who had allegedly not reported to the authorities about her son’s US trip, tested positive.
Interestingly, all the health officials are being treated in private hospitals while rest of the patients are in Bhopal AIIMS. Moreover, till now, the government has been unable to find out patient zero in the Health Department.
“The transfer of Health Department officials to private hospitals from AIIMS exposes the medical facilitates in the state. It also shows that the health officials have no trust on government hospitals,” public health expert Amulya Nidhi told NewsClick.
Also read: COVID-19: MP Healthcare Workers in Crisis; 2 Dead, 3 New Cases, 36 Under Quarantine
Criticising the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, MP Congress Spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said, “Why the Health Department has not ordered a probe to find out how this virus spread among the officials and staffs? Who was the patient zero in the department?”
He further said, “Chief Minister Chouhan has ordered strict action against those who are spreading it or hiding travel history, then why no action has been taken against the officials?”
Govt forms special task force to tackle Covid-19 in MP, no Health expert, doctor in list
To deal with the pandemic, the state government has constituted a 11-member special task force. BJP leaders, including Scindia loyalist Tulsi Silawat, are the members of task force. Unlike Maharashtra, however, the task force has no health expert, doctors or policy makers.
According to an official release by state BJP office secretary, "The task force has been formed in view of corona pandemic to review and coordinate with the state government and to further mobilise the state organisation."
BJP state chief VD Sharma will be the convener of the task force while, ten other prominent leaders have been added as members. They include, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, state organisation General Secretary Suhas Bhagat, National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, former Leader of Opposition (LoP) Gopal Bhargava, Lok Sabha member Rakesh Singh, senior MLAs and former Ministers Narottam Mishra, Rajendra Shukla, Meena Singh, Jagdish Deora and former Health Minister Tulsi Silavat, stated the BJP communique.
“This is not a Special Task Force but BJP’s task force,” said Jitu Patwari, Congress media incharge and former minister adding that even as the situation is deteriorating every day, CM Chouhan is busy in trying to making his party leaders happy.
Also read: COVID-19: 5 Deaths in Bhopal, Gas Tragedy-hit Patients, Activists Demand Screening of Survivors
Instead of BJP leaders task force, who have no experience to tackle this pandemic, the CM should constitute a team of health experts, doctors and policy makers, he advised.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate Vivek Tankha on Thursday complained to the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) and alleged “gross violation” on part of the state health department in dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Tankha asked the rights commission to take appropriate action in the matter.
Indore and Bhopal- two of the cleanest cities of the country-- have emerged as epicentre of COVID-19 outbreak. Out of 1,000 cases in the state, around 808 cases are from these two cities, according to the official figures released by the state government till April 15.
Indore recorded 642 cases while Bhopal recorded 196 the data says. Indore has recorded more than 320 cases in the last two days without any Jamaat link. Till date 37 people have died in Indore.
Dept screening 60,000 people in Bhopal
After the death of three men from Bhopal’s Jehangirabad locality, the administration has undertaken a massive survey and screening campaign in the area. What concerns the officials more is the fact that all three had died undetected and the tests were carried out from swabs from their dead bodies. Following this, the administration has carried out screening of around 50,000-60,000 people since April 14.
“We are carrying out a survey in the entire region and the whole area inhabited by 50,000 to 60,000 people is being sanitised. The area is locked and no one except the teams carrying out the operation are being allowed inside,” said a doctor, requesting anonymity.
Eight to nine drones are also being used in Jehangirabad to keep a watch on sanitisation work and alert cops and the administration of any assembling of people at one place.