Chhattisgarh CM Baghel regrets the lack of kits, says everyone with a travel history should get tested

NEW DELHI: People with a travel history should be tested for the coronavirus, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel told TOI in an exclusive interview after three of the nine coronavirus cases in the state tested positive for the virus without showing any of the usual symptoms related to the disease.

Speaking to TOI by phone from Raipur, Baghel said that of the 9 cases detected in Chhattisgarh so far, an asymptomatic and home-quarantined girl for more than 18 days tested positive. Another boy with no symptoms, and a third person who traveled nearly two months ago also tested positive for coronavirus, he said. This contradicts the Union government's 14-day quarantine theory, as well as claims that only those with symptoms should be evaluated. All persons of foreign return must be tested. But since there are not enough kits, the Union government insists on evaluating only those who develop symptoms, Baghel said.

As a containment measure in the absence of adequate equipment, the Chhattisgarh government has placed all persons with a history of travel under mandatory quarantine at home and informed the local police to ensure that no one skips the closure. But without the proper tests, we just don't know if someone is a carrier. This silent aspect of the virus is very concerning and we are ill-equipped to handle the load if more people test positive, Baghel said.

Emphasizing the need to speed up testing, he added that several people from Chhattisgarh attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi and would now need to be tracked and tested. However, he described as unfortunate the ruling party doing communal policy on the disease. “First, it is very wrong that these people have stayed there in such large numbers. The way they escaped from the central and state administration scanner is cause for concern. But making politics about this is not only unfortunate, it also reflects a sick mindset. This disease was spread from China, not by these people. But they are made to appear responsible, ”said CM Chhattisgarh.

Baghel also said his government did a lot to prepare for the state's self-imposed shutdown on March 21. Before tightening the restrictions, the Chhattisgarh government, Baghel said, distributed 70 kilos of free rice to each of the 56 lakh families in the state. installed shelters and services for 60,000 migrant workers, and provided two quintals of rice in each neighborhood and in all 11,000-gram panchayats to serve those who were left out of the PDS network. The state is also distributing dry rations and cooked meals to beneficiary families under various schemes. “We started imposing restrictions from March 13 and announced a total closure on March 21, even before the Prime Minister announced it. But he did not see the chaos or the migrations of Chhattisgarh because we planned ahead and made adequate resources available at all levels. The Prime Minister should also have done this, put his ego aside and hold consultations with states to find ideas to avoid panic and the massive exodus of migrants from Delhi, ”he said.

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Noting the shortage of personal protective equipment for health workers in Chhattisgarh, Baghel said the state is currently working on the protective equipment that health workers wear during institutional deliveries and that Chhattisgarh has 700 ventilators and 2,700 beds in the ICU today; numbers that can be expanded as needed.

He added that the Chhatisgarh government will not order cuts in the wages of workers or officials in light of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that mines, factories and plants have had to close their shutters in the state and is likely to be a long road to recovery for the state and the country's economy. “There is no monetary assistance for the states of the Union government. Even the PDS grains that were promised as part of the relief material have so far not been received. But, when the time comes, we will think of a road to recovery. First, we have to get out of the prevailing situation, he said.