With 196 positive cases and seven deaths till Sunday, Maharashtra has been the worst Covid-19 hit state. While the state government has taken some effective and unprecedented steps in a well-coordinated manner to contain the outbreak the people’s careless attitude has only added to the number of positive patients.
The state machinery came into action after the first Covid-19 case, a couple from Pune who had travelled to Dubai was detected on March 3. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has set up a special control room “to fight a battle with the pandemic.” In an unprecedented move, he deputed 11 senior IAS officials in the control room to exchange and relay related information. When the first case was reported, Maharashtra had only one testing centre at Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Mumbai. It set up three centres at Hafkin Institute, KEM Hospital and J.J. Hospital in the next 20 days. The state has 28 testing centres now, including private ones. “We are following the 3T formula – trace, test and treat – in this challenging time,” says Health Minister Rajesh Tope. He says all 15 medical college hospitals will have laboratories by the end of March to conduct swab tests.
The state-designated two major Mumbai hospitals – Saint George and GT Hospital – to treat only Covid-19 patients. They have 360 and 300 beds respectively. In Pune, with 800-bed capacity, the government medical college will be an additional treatment centre apart from Naidu Hospital run by the Pune Municipal Corporation. It has also approved providing food grains that will last for three months to the below poverty level citizens through the public distribution system. Thackeray imposed a ban on inter-district transport to contain the outbreak. He also imposed restrictions on passenger movement. Now, only two passengers are allowed in a taxi and one in a rickshaw. Buses are reserved for those in essential services.
The state’s decision to stamp the left hand of suspected patients who have been advised home quarantine proved effective as the public reported the suspected patients to the authorities. Thackeray ordered to keep the shops of essential commodities and medical stores open for 24 hours to avoid crowding. Also, the administration has taken an initiative to maintain social distancing with the demarcation of spaces for buyers.
The public’s behaviour is counter-effective. At Islampur in Sangli, a family of four tested positive after returning from Saudi Arabia. They mingled with other 25 members of the extended family. On March 27, 12 of them were found to be Covid-19 positive. Cases of clashes between the police and citizens are rising. People attacked policemen in Mumbai, Beed, Hingoli and Baramati for forcing them to be at home.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)