Situation in control, prepared for third wave, says UP CM Yogi Adityanath

“We are hiding nothing. Everything is transparent… Every detail of testing, recoveries and deaths are uploaded on the (government's Covid) portal,” Adityanath told a group of reporters in Noida.

The pandemic situation in Uttar Pradesh is not alarming or out of control, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Sunday. UP is even prepared for a third wave of Covid-19, if it comes, Adityanath said.

Extra test kits and medical kits, and surveillance teams trained in Covid management have been despatched to villages to check the spread of the pandemic in rural areas, the Chief Minister said.

“We are hiding nothing. Everything is transparent… Every detail of testing, recoveries and deaths are uploaded on the (government’s Covid) portal,” Adityanath told a group of reporters in Noida.

“Concerns had been expressed that given the population of Uttar Pradesh, things would spin out of control. But the situation is not out of control,” he said.

The Chief Minister said that UP, which has fought Japanese encephalitis for years, has set up infrastructure that is capable of facing a “third wave” as well.

A committee including members from multiple departments has been set up to monitor the situation, he said. Besides the district hospitals with 1,200-1,500 beds, Community Health Centres in the villages would also be provided with people trained at Gorakhpur Medical College and KGMU Hospital in Lucknow, the Chief Minister said.

The state has vaccinated 1.5 crore people, taken steps to procure vaccine supplies from abroad, and reduced the wastage of vaccines, he said.

UP has been witnessing a decline in reported infections for the last two weeks. On April 30, the state had reported 34,722 cases, and its active cases were at an all-time high of 3.10 lakh. There has been a consistent slowdown since then. On Saturday, the state reported only 12,513 new cases, while its active caseload had come down to 1.77 lakh. But around 300 deaths are still being reported in the state every day.

Adityanath conceded that the spread of the pandemic was a “concern”. His government had launched a campaign on May 5 to create surveillance teams for every ward in both gram panchayats and urban local bodies, he said. The surveillance teams are expected to look at cleanliness, sanitation, and fogging, apart from screening people and distributing medical kits for those with symptoms.

The UP government has come under criticism, including from within the BJP, over its handling of the Covid situation.

On the bodies found floating in the Ganga in some parts of the state, Adityanath said there were instances in which people, in an attempt to avoid crowded cremation grounds or burial grounds, dumped bodies into the river.

“We have posted SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) and PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) personnel at every river and water body, and alerted panchayats and urban local bodies to see that no bodies are dumped in rivers. We have asked them to persuade people to not do this,” he said.

He added that local bodies have been asked to extend the financial assistance that is provided for bodies with no claimants to Covid-affected ones as well.

The Chief Minister denied that people were dying without proper treatment in the state. “There could be some exceptions. But Uttar Pradesh does not have a situation like that. Such a situation may be there in some other states,” he said.

According to him, UP had 23,000 level 2 and level 3 beds in the first wave, apart from almost 1.16 lakh level 1 facility beds. But with the L1 beds not in much use, for the second wave, the state has prepared 80,000 L2 and L3 beds, which are in use, besides the facilities provided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, he said.

“There could be exceptions. Because not everyone can call 108, and not everyone can register. But the government is reaching out to them too,” Adityanath said.

The Chief Minister urged the media to send out “positive and constructive” messages instead of “presenting concerns over shortage of oxygen and medicines in a way that could create panic and scare among the people”.

He said: “The way we express our concerns, over oxygen, remdesivir, etc., there is panic in the minds of the people. This is the time we should help people to be brave and show strong will power. We are fighting a pandemic, not an ordinary disease. This pandemic is not just in India. The health infrastructure in the US and Europe is much better than that of India. So how did the US end up having so many deaths?”

Asked if there was any “negligence” that led to the worsening of the situation, Adityanath said the situation in UP was under control. “See, Noida has not become like Delhi…don’t you see the difference between Nodia and Delhi (in terms of infections and fatalities)? The situation is the same all over UP.”

He denied that the panchayat elections had led to a rise in cases. “Was there any election in Delhi? Did Maharashtra have an election? Anyway, the panchayat elections were held as per the directions of the High Court,” Adityanath said.

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