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Covid care response mismanaged from the day one: CPI(M)

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Serious response at this critical juncture to contain it is urgently needed

Srinagar: With Covid19 spreading thick and fast across Jammu and Kashmir, it looks as if the administration has run out of options and is reconciled to the pandemic running its course.

This was stated by a spokesman of J&K CPI(M) in a statement issued here today.

“The lockdown imposed in March would have been useful if it would have been effectively used to build capacities in terms of creation of large number oxygen supported beds, instillation of oxygen generators, recruitment of additional health care workers, supply chain management of PPE kits and drugs, purchasing of additional ventilators, enhancing testing facilities,” the spokesman said.

He said that the preparations done by the administration during lockdown does not match the requirements needed to face this pandemic. As far as expanding capacities and medical equipment in government hospitals are concerned, the steps taken were limited and totally inadequate.

“The total numbers of oxygen supported beds as of today are merely 2000, which are inadequate and we are going to run out of beds in coming weeks. Oxygen will prove lifeline for all symptomatic patients but there is not a single oxygen generation plant at district hospital level. Oxygen generation capacity of tertiary care hospitals will fall short and will not match the requirement. The numbers of ventilators in J&K are merely around 200 which is far less than what is required in normal times even,” said the spokesman.

He said that Covid-care response should have been handled scientifically by medical/public health experts with administrative support but unfortunately, it was handled as if it was another law and order problem and bureaucratic supremacy completely mismanaged the Covid response.

“A simple measure of enforcing use of masks by the general public, ensuring its availability with price control could have broken the chain of transmission, was not taken timely and experts suspect community transmission had already set in,” said the spokesman.

He said that community participation was given least importance and communication channels with the civil society were never opened to involve public opinion and create community volunteers for awareness and enforcement of SOPs and remove social stigma associated with Covid-19.

“We want to ask what is the plan of administration now? There needs to be a serious response from the authorities at this critical juncture of the fight against Covid-19. Doctors and experts have predicted a grim scenario for the J&K in weeks to come,” said the spokesman, adding, the government should increase beds with high-flow oxygen in hospitals with the number of cases increasing at the earliest and purchase more ventilators to augment the capacity of hospitals and have more doctors to utilize those ventilators.

“The administration has to get its priorities right – strengthen the public health system on a war-footing; test, trace and isolate on a large-scale in a systematic way,” he further said.

The spokesman appealed people to use face masks which are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19.

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