The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is taking a macabre form. Every day more than 2 lakh corona infects are coming across the country. It is a matter of concern that the number of newly infected patients is increasing in lakhs per day and in proportion our health services are gasping.
Haryana is also not untouched by the second wave of coronavirus infection. With an average of 7000 new people being hit by Corona every day, the challenge is also increasing for the Haryana government. For money control on how people follow corona survival rules and what steps are being taken to treat the infected Haryana Home and Health Minister Anil Vij Senior Journalist and CEO of Center for Innovation in Public Policy (CIPP) Yatish rajawat Excerpts from the detailed conversation of:
You have a dual responsibility as Health Minister and Home Minister of Haryana to deal with the Corona epidemic. The shortage of beds, oxygen and medicines is increasing in hospitals up to Delhi, the capital of the country. In such a situation, what is the condition of Haryana?
We have no shortage. We had already made arrangements to improve the health services infrastructure. As soon as the second wave of Corona started, I told the officials that the services we had started in the first round should be resumed.
We have 11 thousand isolation beds, two thousand ICU beds and one thousand ventilators. There is no shortage of PPE kits and masks. All medicines are in sufficient quantity. I have ordered all the Deputy Commissioners that every patient should get a bed.
The government hospital does not even have beds, as of today I am sitting in Gurgaon, I have received at least 15 to 20 phones of people who are not getting beds since morning.
We are making every effort for the correct treatment of patients. Private hospitals are being acquired for treatment when needed. Beds are being installed in Dharamshalas, hotels and schools in case of shortage of space, but no patient should face problem of beds. However, about 70 percent of the patients in the state are in home isolation.
We are also concerned about people who are in home isolation. I have formed teams for that. I said that it is also our responsibility to take care of them. At least once in two days, the team of doctors are going home to check, give medicines and we are monitoring them. For this, we have made an app, it has the data of every patient living in home isolation.
See, I have some figures which have been taken from the Health Department website coronaharyana.in. About 26,025 beds have been shown all over Gurgaon and Faridabad and 1782 beds have been reported. Both of these are connected to the big city of Delhi and in this hospitals it is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of the patients are coming from Delhi. And it is not a big deal that patients are coming from Delhi, but are you making any direct intervention to increase the capacity in these two cities?
Absolutely, I have placed orders. I asked all the Deputy Commissioners to form a monitoring committee in their respective districts to keep all the high officials and update us. Because the situation in each district can be different. It may be lacking in some, we may have enough beds in some of it. I have placed orders and I talk everyday.
We know Gurgaon and Faridabad, we know Sonipat, because we have a lot of patients coming from outside. But whatever comes, we will treat it. We will put our full capacity and strength to fix whatever patients come to us. I have even said that I should not see two patients on one bed. There should be a system of getting beds for every patient.
We knew that the second phase of the epidemic would also come. The epidemic has been talked about for almost a year. In Haryana’s budget, about 33 percent was given more for health, the lack of preparation has been said, which we have not been able to fully control this epidemic.
I think we have made all the arrangements. And if you talk about deficiency, then the deficiency is 70 years old. In 70 years we have done nothing to strengthen our health services. Now an epidemic came and there was a need. In 70 years, there was no worry, but as soon as the epidemic struck.
We made all the arrangements. We definitely had a problem in the first year. But this year we also have a year of experience. My team and my doctors are fighting against this disease with utmost tenacity. Our recovery rate is very good and the death rate is 1.01 percent. We want to improve that too.
The migration of migrant laborers working in agriculture, service sector and factories in Haryana has resumed in the last two-three weeks, especially from April 1. Has the government made any arrangement for this? Of buses or their food, corona testing and tracing?
No, there is no migration in Haryana. Some people tried to propagate through social media that a lockdown would probably take place in Haryana as well. I have repeatedly made it clear in my statements that we are not in favor of lockdown. There are only two ways to fight Corona. One is lockdown and the other is strictness. I am trying to wager on the method of strictness.
I have asked all the Deputy Commissioners and SPs under the Corona Guidelines to strictly follow this strictly. I know that people have heartburn. But I can bear the resentment of people. I can’t see heaps of corpses. I therefore said that you should be completely strict. We are strict and we are not imposing any kind of lockdown. We want life to go on and on and on.
I am working on the theme that life should be saved. We want both the things, so we have told the workers that there is no need to come to anyone’s point. All the factories are running as before. And we will get them to follow the corona rules.
And those who are in the night shift can go before 10 pm because we have imposed the night curfew. And after five o’clock in the morning they can leave. Therefore factories can run all day. No worker is required to flee.
Mr. Vij, one of the biggest fears right now is that among the people who are coming back from the Kumbh Mela, many people will be Corona positive. Has the state government made any plans to track or trace these travelers who are coming back? Is there any program under which to isolate them by tracking or tracing, treatment?
This danger is also in our mind that such a large number of people gathered at the Kumbh Mela that they can all be infected. They are going to their destinations by various means. So the risk of this is very high. We have not yet sealed any borders. We have not even considered it yet. But we can consider that those who enter Haryana should enter with RTPCR certificate.
Till now, the tracking of Corona was being done at the district level itself. But now cases are also coming from the village who did not come in the first wave. Is there a need to create a task force at the block level so that it can be tracked and treated?
You are fine At first the cases were not coming from the village and their immunity is probably strong. But the strain that has come this time, it looks more infectious. It is impacting more. It is surrounded by more people. So we are observant for that.
We are meeting regularly with all our CMOs. We are having a meeting with experts and PG specialists of PG Rohtak on how to treat and how to cure. We have also targeted to increase testing elsewhere. So far, we are testing about 36 thousand people daily. I want to increase that to 40 to 50 thousand. We have asked that you test at least 30 contacts for a corona positive.
Mr. Vij, one is to get the work done under pressure and the other is to get organized and work with the participation of the private sector. Because the problem that people are facing is that the test is done, but it is now taking four to five days to get its result.
This is not the case in Haryana. When Corona started in Haryana, we did not have a single lab. Now we have 35 labs in Haryana. There are 18 labs in the government sector and there is no work pending anywhere and there is no problem of any kind. Every man reaches the result in one day. There is no such problem in Haryana. Some may be in private labs.
How much oxygen do we have now?
We have enough oxygen. I did not have any complaints of lack of oxygen even in the first wave and then in the second wave.
You have probably not had any complaints. But we have had many complaints that oxygen is not being received and some are not getting ventilators?
No, this cannot be done in Haryana. Monitoring has also been done in Haryana two days back. There is no shortage of oxygen in Haryana.
What is the status of the vaccine? Do you have enough vaccine? And how fast will the vaccination program take place?
See, we have vaccinated 29 lakh people. And by the end of April, we aim to vaccinate 3.5 million people. We plan to apply vaccine to all those who are above 45 years of age by the end of May. And we are getting the vaccine as per the requirement. And we are applying the vaccine.
Initially, we had a problem. People were hesitating. And all that was misconceived on the vaccine by our intellectuals that it can spoil and should not be introduced. That’s why people were hesitating. I found out his way too.
I asked my department to join social and business organizations. Involve political parties, ask them to set up camps. Business institutions set up camps and they set up camps. Our vaccination is going very well.
Chief Ministers of these two states, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, have spoken of lack of vaccine.
They do politics. Politics should not be done on this issue. As far as I know the record, Maharashtra has been provided more vaccines than all the states.
No, I do not want to ask political questions. But I want to ask in this way that at least 60 to 70 percent of people will not get hard immunity till they get vaccinated. To do this, a goal of just one month is not enough. This is a 6-month, one-year process and has to be continued continuously.
We will also have to see how much production we have. We have 7 crore doses produced every day. 6 crore kovishild and one crore kovaxin are being made. Now Sputnik has arrived, then more will come.
The last question I want to ask you is, how much time do you think it will take to control this epidemic?
See, no one can guess this virus accurately. This is a very dishonest virus. But I feel that it will grow very fast now. And we are preparing for that.
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