Even as a record 12,248 COVID-19 cases and 66 deaths were reported in Madhya Pradesh in the past 24 hours, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressed the people through social media and urged them to strictly remain at home and self-impose 'Janta curfew' till April 30 to break the chain of infection.
Several cities and towns of the state including Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Dewas are already under "corona curfew"—meaning lockdown with some exemptions—till April 26, but the CM has appealed to people to self-impose restrictions till April 30. There are currently 68,576 active cases in the state and the positivity rate has gone up 22.83 per cent, meaning one in every four persons giving samples are testing positive.
The chief minister said that the state government was making all-out efforts to ramp up health infrastructure in the state, but conceded that if there is a limit to resources and if cases keep on piling, the infrastructure was bound to fall short.
“It is therefore important to ensure that there is a minimum requirement to go to the hospitals and this can be done only through preventive measures,” Chouhan said.
Terming the COVID-19 situation as "extremely grim and warlike", the CM said that the foremost thing is to break the infection chain and for this people should stop unnecessary movement.
“Remain at home, do not go out unnecessarily till April 30. People in villages, wards, localities and even buildings/apartments should take their own decision to impose janta curfew", the CM said.
He further said that even if people have to leave home for emergency work, they should ensure that they wear masks. And if symptoms such as cough and cold, diarrhoea, headache and others are noticed they shouldn't be ignored at all and samples should be given for COVID-19 test. After giving samples such persons should self-isolate and remain away even from family members.
Free medical kit for home isolation
If the reports come positive, they should further strictly follow home isolation measures and the government will make available free medical kits and telemedicine counselling facilities through e-sanjeevani call centres for such patients, the CM said. He added that those having no arrangement/space for home isolation should approach the 109 COVID care centres set up in 52 districts where all facilities including food and medicines are available free.
“Most of the patients can easily be treated in this way and only few actually require to come to the hospitals,” the CM said adding that meanwhile efforts are on to significantly ramp up public and private health infrastructure.
Compared to 21,159 beds available in government hospitals on April 1, currently, 40,784 beds are available and by April 30, the number will cross 50,000. Private hospitals are being offered government buildings to set up hospitals and NGOs and social organisations are also coming ahead for the purpose, Chouhan said.
He added that there was an oxygen shortage in the state a few days ago, but concerted efforts have led to almost normalising the situation. As of April 8, the state had a supply of 180 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen while on April 12 it went up to 266 MT. Capacity will continue to be ramped up, with 445 MT expected by April 20, 565 MT by April 25 and 700 MT by April 30.
By April 20 445 MT, by April 25 - 565 MT and by April 30 – 700 MT oxygen will be available in the state, Chouhan assured.
He also conceded that there was a shortage of Ramdesivir injections, but efforts were on to get as much stock as possible by placing orders in government and private sectors.
Chouhan, however, added that the government will do extremely hard work and make all-out efforts to manage the situation, but all sections of society including political parties irrespective of affiliations will have to come together to defeat the pandemic. Common people could lend a hand by registering themselves as "corona volunteers" and taking up work at help desks, counselling desks and support on the ground too. He said that he will separately speak on the issue of ensuring continued livelihood options for the poor people.
The CM further urged the media to be positive in its coverage of the pandemic and mentioned that while a worrying 11-12,000 cases were being reported every day, up to 7,000 were also getting discharged after recovering.
12 dead after alleged oxygen shortage in Shahdol
Meanwhile, alleged deaths of about a dozen persons in the COVID ward of Medical College Hospital of Shahdol caused an uproar with local media reporting that the deaths were due to a shortage of oxygen after an oxygen tanker failed to reach the district in time due to an accident. The medical education minister Vishvas Sarang, however, said that six deaths of critical patients had been reported late on Saturday night but the oxygen shortage was not the cause. Later, food and civil supplies minister Bisahulal Singh visited the hospital to take stock of the situation.