Uttar Pradesh is reeling under Covid-19 crisis, who is in charge?

Ambulances not reaching patients in time, CMO is taking two days to give referral slips; Adityanath Cabinet minister's letter on poor handling of COVID-19 pandemic in Lucknow goes viral 


On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh recorded over 18,021 new Covid-19 cases. There are 95,980 active cases in UP now. The state capital Lucknow has recorded over 5,382 new cases in a day, Allahabad reported 1,856, Varanasi 1,404, Kanpur 1,271, Gorakhpur 602, according to a health bulletin. The situation is so bad now, that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders themselves have begun ringing alarm bells on the near collapse of the healthcare system in the state. 

A case in point is a letter written by the state’s law minister, Brijesh Pathak, where he has expressed his shock and despair over the lackadaisical attitude of the health authorities in Lucknow. The letter, which went viral on social media, was a confidential one and was addressed to additional chief secretary, medical health, Amit Mohan Prasad and principal secretary, medical education, Alok Kumar. On Monday, the minister wrote, “I am shocked to find that while government hospitals and labs are taking around 4-5 days to give the test reports, private laboratories have been asked to stop Covid testing.” Pathak, a sitting MLA from Lucknow Central, stated that he had received a frantic call from the home of author Yogesh Praveen, about his critical condition and that an ambulance was needed. The minister wrote, “I contacted the office of the chief medical officer, Lucknow, but the ambulance never reached and Yogesh Praveen ji died.” 

He also  wrote about the paucity of test kits and testing facilities in the state capital, an issue that other citizens too have been raising. He stated that there was a need for at least 17,000 coronavirus test kits a day but barely 10,000 were available in Lucknow. Patha said, “I am flooded with requests, desperate pleas from citizens of Lucknow to save their lives and often find the district health authorities insensitive and don’t find it necessary to respond to the distress calls.” According to news reports Pathak added that when the issue was brought to the knowledge of the health minister, “the officers started picking the phones but hardly to any benefit of the common man.”

A poet, and activist Deepak Kabir shared that a patient cannot approach a hospital for medical help in UP without a RTPCR examination, however the private labs are no longer doing these tests in the state. Hence putting hospitals and citizens under further strain.



The Law Minister has also asked the higher authorities to intervene and put medical infrastructure in order saying, “Ambulances are not reaching the patients in time, CMO office is taking two days to give referral slips to patients for admission to any COVID-facility”. Pathak sounded a warning that “If authorities fail to control the situation now, a lockdown is imminent,” reported the Indian Express. On Monday, CM Yogi Adityanath had said the government would neither impose a lockdown nor let people die in misery.

Examine viability of complete lockdown in affected areas: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court has said that the Uttar Pradesh government should give priority to public health over the upcoming elections in the state. The HC has said that a mere ‘night curfew’, will not be enough to combat the virus and the government should examine the viability of complete lock-down in those districts where spread has increased alarmingly, for at least two weeks or three weeks, reported Bar and Bench. “Night curfew or Corona curfew is a very small step. What we need to ensure is that there is no unnecessary public movement even during day timings,” the order stated, adding that all public gatherings must be restricted to fifty persons. 

Crucially, the Court also asked the government to look into the possibility of “vaccinating students who are pursuing higher education and those appearing in Board examinations of high school” stated the report. “If the Board and other examination conducting bodies are going for offline examination then the government must explore viability to extend the benefit of vaccination to such students as well,” the Court urged. 

A Bench of Justice Siddharth and Justice Ajith Kumar issued many directions to the state government, and warned the authorities that it shall make sure that everyone follows the Covid-19 protocol, reportedly saying, “We make it clear that if we are apprised on the next date fixed of any one moving on roads without mask, we shall take it as an act of contempt on the part of police and will certainly haul up the SSP, Prayagraj and other concerned districts for the same.” The Allahabad HC has also directed the state government to ensure production of Remdesivir, an injectable anti viral medicine by pharmaceuticals, making them available easily the necessary ingredients and its supply in open market.   

The Court has also noted that hospitals across Uttar Pradesh are flooded with patients, and stated that “the surge has absolutely paralyzed public life and all the medical aid systems have reached a stage of complete saturation. We have been informed that Covid hospitals are over-flooded with Covid patients and there is both manpower shortage and available facilities in hospitals. The situation is so alarming that if it is not handled carefully and cautiously we may lead to stage of complete collapse of public health system.”

According to Bar and Bench, the State government was directed to file an affidavit of an officer not below the rank of Secretary before the Court. The District Magistrate and Chief Medical Officer, Prayagraj will  appear through video conferencing on  April 19, the next date of hearing.

Corpses are piled up on the ghats

Kaushal Kishore, Member of Parliament from Mohanlalganj Lucknow, also said the Covid situation was out of control in Lucknow, and thousands of families in Lucknow had been hit, adding that “corpses are piled up on the ghats”. He also appealed to the Election Commission to postpone holding local body elections in the region saying “it is necessary to save the lives of people”.



Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath tests Covid-19 positive

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (48) has announced that he has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self isolating. “When initial symptoms were observed I got myself tested for Covid and my report came back positive. I am in self-isolation and fully following the instructions of physicians.” He added he was “doing all work virtually” and asked those who came in contact with him to get themselves tested. 



On Tuesday, Adityanath had announced that he was in self-isolation as a “precautionary measure” after officials at his office tested positive for Covid-19. “Some officials of my office have tested positive for Covid-19. As a precautionary measure, I have isolated myself and I am carrying on my work virtually,”  Adityanath had tweeted. According to new reports the officials include Adityanath’s OSD Abhishek Kaushik. The CM, himself however, did not identify which officials had tested positive for Covid-19.

Adityanath’s predecessor, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, has also tested positive for Covid-19. 



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