On the last day of April, the second wave of corona infection across four lakhs has taken the form of tsunami in the country. Punjab has to deal with the challenge of the fast-growing UK variant in the 10 states affected by this macabre epidemic.
The investigation found that 80% of those infected with this tsunami of epidemics have hit the UK variant. Senior journalist and CEO of the Center for Innovation in Public Policy (CIPP) spoke extensively to Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu about how Punjab is tackling this challenge and what the government is preparing for. Yatish rajawat has.
Read the key parts of the conversation:
Question – According to you, what is the condition of Covid in Punjab?
answer : The situation of Covid in Punjab is at its peak. We have no shortage of resources but we have a shortage of oxygen. In the last 20-25 days, the number of infected people has increased rapidly. We have crossed 7,000 infected every day. The death rate has also risen significantly. There have been 125 deaths on 29 April itself.
There are three big reasons for this. The local lifestyle of Punjab is such that the death rate here is quite high. Secondly, there is a lot of negligence among people, they come to the hospital for treatment only when they are very ill Investigations are fine in our cities, so the number of infected people is coming up but the death rate is low. At the same time, the investigation is less in the countryside but the death rate is higher. Awareness campaigns are being conducted in rural areas on the corona.
Question – On April 16, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said that the situation is normal in Punjab, but in Punjab 7 to 8 thousand are getting infected every day and the death rate is also high. How is this being controlled?
answer : The Chief Minister had rightly said at that time, but today the situation is not like that. At that time we had enough oxygen as per our requirement. The process of investigation has been speeded up in us. We need 300 tonnes of oxygen every day, but we are getting 105 tonnes from the center and Punjab has its own production of 36 tonnes. There is still a shortfall of more than 150 tonnes. We have closed the steel plants of the state to meet the shortage and their oxygen is being supplied in the hospitals.
Question- Minister, it is believed that the outbreak of the second wave of Corona is more in the cities now, when its outbreak will spread more in the town and countryside, the migration to cities for treatment will increase. In such a situation, the need for ICU, oxygen and beds will increase by five to six times, for which preparations are being made now?
answer : We have also got in touch with the army. CISF will also work with us. 400-400 beds are being increased in medical colleges. Covid care centers are being built. Level-three and level-two patients need to be admitted to hospitals. Level-one patients are being treated by isolation in their homes. They have been given Fateh kits. Twice a day, doctors talk to him on the phone to find out about his health. The biggest thing is that many patients of Delhi have started coming to hospitals in Punjab for treatment.
Question: Mr. Minister, it will only be that where there are beds in the hospitals, the patients will go there for treatment. In Punjab, it is expected that in the second week of May, there is a possibility of increasing cases in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Mohali. In this way more beds will be required. The need for oxygen will increase. How will this reduction be completed in the next two weeks when Corona reaches its peak?
answer: Our two factories in Punjab manufacture Remediswear. He took a lot of stock which he had to export and the center took control of it. The center should allow us to supply us. Oxygen and medicines are under the control of the center. We are completely dependent on the center.
Our CM has ordered 30 lakh doses but the supply will be from May 15. We have no shortage of any kind of health infrastructure. We also have plenty of ventilators, doctors and nurses, but we lack oxygen, vaccine.
Question: To overcome the lack of oxygen, what level of oxygen is being installed in small plants in hospitals?
answer : The Center had to give us three plants but they have planted only one. One in Amritsar and the other in Patiala, but we did not get the approval. We have set up plants in government hospitals in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.
Question – No approval is required to set up a plant. Punjab has time to set up oxygen plants in all its hospitals?
answer : The Center did not cooperate with us, but our effort is to become self-sufficient.
Question – Haryana has made oxygen plants mandatory in every small and big private hospitals. Why can’t Punjab do this?
answer : Are also setting up hospitals in Punjab. We are doing more than Haryana.
Question – What are you doing more than Haryana?
answer : We have more bed capacity than hospitals in Haryana. We have more ventilators. People from Haryana are coming to Mohali for treatment at Max, Fortis, DMC and Rajendra Hospital. Anyone can come and get treatment from anywhere.
Question- What is the status of vaccination? What is the plan, how fast can vaccination?
answer : We can apply three lakh doses daily. But the uncertainty is that how many doses we will get every day are not decided.
Question – Can the Punjab government not buy the vaccine directly?
answer : We have already ordered three million doses to Serum Institute, Pune. We hope to get it from May 15 before the center has to supply it.
Question – Can Punjab Government not import from USA, UK or Canada in Medical Emergency?
answer : The center retains its authority over the availability and supply of the vaccine. If the center imports, then we are ready to pay. The Chief Minister has written a letter to the Center that the demand for vaccines and oxygen should be met to overcome the situation in Punjab.
Question – Remedesivir is being produced in Punjab, but Punjab is not being supplied?
answer : The center has kept production and supply under its control.
Question – What do you expect in the next three weeks? What is the preparation?
answer : Health services are being expanded. 10,000 beds of level-two are being prepared. At present 8,000 beds are available with government and private hospitals.
Question- Is the existing bad system enough if the kovid spreads in the villages?
answer : There are not all serious patients in the villages. There will be no such situation in the village with beds because there is enough space in the houses for isolation in the villages. In the village, we will need only medicines and doctors.
Question – What happened in the health services lapse? Did not the budget provide for more budget for health services? Now thousands of beds are needed, but did not make a provision for spending in the budget?
answer: The state government has a disaster relief fund. This fund is being spent. The government is spending all this money with this fund.
Question: Why was there no provision of already increased budget for health services in the budget so that oxygen plant and thousands of beds would be arranged in time?
answer : We have started a 300-bed medical college in Mohali. Two medical colleges are going to be started in the next two years. Private medical colleges are also providing 400-400 beds each.
Question- Not just a bed arrangement, you need a doctor, you need a nurse, you need a ventilator too? Lessons need to be taken from Maharashtra and Gujarat that the governments there were not ready to fight with Corona. What the central government will do is fine, but the state also needs to prepare for war in the next few days? The patient cannot be told that the Center did not, so Punjab remained behind?
answer : We have all the resources we need for oxygen and vaccine. Once in the agricultural state of Punjab, all the industrial items used to come from other states, but today the resource-rich Punjab is facing the problem of oxygen and vaccine for the first time.
Question- How many small plants will be set up in the next 15 days?
answer : We are going to set up one oxygen plant in each district hospital. For this, a committee of three to four doctors headed by Dr. KK Talwar is working daily. It is being monitored daily.
Question- Hope that Punjab gets out of this dilemma, there is no such problem in Delhi and Maharashtra. Hopefully, there is no problem of oxygen and beds in Punjab? May your efforts be successful.
answer : Absolutely. The Guru will do well.
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