COVID-19: Central teams rushed to visit Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Telangana

Ghughuti Bulletin

home ministry has set up four more inter-ministerial central teams (IMCTs) for making an on-spot assessment of
Covid-19 in
Chennai and
Hyderabad, while the team deputed for Mumbai and Pune has been asked to visit Thane. The development came on a day when teams for Kolkata, Mumbai and Indore submitted their recommendations on containment measures to states, officials said.

IMCTs were sent to Mumbai and Indore as they reported the highest number of positive cases in the respective states. Based on allegations that lockdown measures were flouted in West Bengal, two central teams were deputed to Kolkata and Jalpaiguri districts too. IMCT leader for Bengal, Apurva Chandra, in a letter on Friday said there were lapses on the part of the administration, including delay in grant of death certificates, lack of ventilator beds in hospitals and non-conformity with ICMR guidelines over testing and insurance to health workers.

“Patients are referred to Bangur hospital, Kolkata, from other medical facilities. However, it seems patients are left to report to the hospital and are not escorted. This leaves the scope for some patients not turning up or delaying reporting to the hospital. There are only 12 ventilator beds available at Bangur hospital even though it caters to 354 Covid patients in serious condition,” Chandra said and asked the state to furnish records on the issue.

The letter said there was truth to social media reports that corpses were left on hospital beds. The team’s inquiry found that it took at least 4 hours to obtain a death certificate, only after which a body was shifted to the mortuary. “It is not clear why a body should lie in a ward in full view of other patients and not shifted to the mortuary even while awaiting death certificate. Records may be furnished for how much time it takes to issue a death certificate and shift a body to the mortuary,” the letter said.

Chandra’s team also sought details of those who returned to Kolkata from abroad. On the state government’s answer that 1.25 lakh to 2 lakh people were screened per day, the team wanted to know how many were tested and found positive. Chandra suggested the state set up a committee of doctors to declare cause of deaths to differentiate Covid deaths from those who may have died of other causes.

The teams deployed to Indore in BJPruled Madhya Pradesh, however, expressed satisfaction over availability of medical equipment, PPEs and mask. It pointed to 20 critical zones in Indore among the 171 containment zones. It also lauded the state initiative on sauda patra where farmers can get minimum support price for crops such as wheat without visiting the mandis.

The IMCT team that visited Mumbai suggested that the state identify locations and set up portable toilets in Dharavi after assessment that residents of Dharavi and Govandi used community toilets which were very few. Another suggestion was to increase the number of surveillance teams and set up 2000-3000 quarantine centres.

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