Tamil Nadu has witnessed a steady rise in COVID-19 cases this week. The daily fresh tally was 14,842 at the start of the week and it touched 18,692 on Friday, April 30.
In light of the steady increase in cases, the state government extended the nighttime curfew, Sunday lockdowns and other restrictions “until further notice”.
But, a lack of clarity on how to handle the pressure on the healthcare system is said to be creating a mess in the state. A rush for oxygen, Remdesivir drugs, beds, vaccines and R-PCR tests are wreaking havoc in the state.
Following the surge in COVID-19 cases following the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls on April 6, the Madras High Court also took an interest in the pandemic situation, but this was not welcomed by the Election commission and state government.
THE HEALTH SYSTEM IS EXTENDING ITS LIMITS
Tamil Nadu’s healthcare system appears to be struggling to provide healthcare for patients with COVID-19, especially in the expanding oxygen beds. Simultaneously, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan called on district administrators and health officials to step up testing and improve contract traceability.
The positivity rate is highest in Chennai, 20 out of 100 people tested tested positive, and Greater Chennai Corporation has claimed to be taking steps to remedy the situation. The company is increase the number of oxygen and oxygen-free beds in public hospitals. It also added nine new testing centers to the city’s 12 existing centers.
MEASURES THAT DO NOT MEET NEEDS
However, with the official number of active cases in the state exceeding 1.3 lakh, Tamil Nadu’s health measures do not appear to be sufficient.
As in most parts of the country, there is a shortage of beds and staff in Tamil Nadu. The sharp increase in cases has also affected the mental well-being of healthcare workers; people infected with the virus and discharged patients suffer from a similar situation. Read more
Meanwhile, oxygen suppliers would be unable to source liquid gas for hospitals as demand outstripped supply. Read more
the Antiviral drug application Remdesivir has skyrocketed over the past week. Although the government of Tamil Nadu has clarified that it is not a compulsory drug, keeping the prescriptions leads to rush to Kilpauk Medical College in Chennai.
Crematorium staff are also starting to see an increase in the number of bodies they manage every day.
NO LEFT VACCINE EVEN FOR THE 2ND DOSE
With the steady increase in COVID-19 cases, daily participation in vaccines has increased. The addition vaccine shortage, especially of Covaxin, for those who need their second doses, has put a strain on the system. Reports that it took several hours outside vaccination centers can be seen statewide.
Until April 30, 12.94 lakh people in Tamil Nadu have received the two doses of vaccine and 31.80 lakh people are waiting for their second dose.
According to the Public Health Directorate on April 30, the state had 6.69 lakh doses of vaccine – 5.20 lakh doses of Covishield and 1.49 lakh doses of Covaxin.
A day before the start of phase III of the vaccination campaign, including the 18-45 age group, the government of Tamil Nadu said it would not be able to start the next phase on May 1. due to the lack of vaccine stock.
Notably, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had said just two days before the above announcement that “vaccines would be provided free of charge to people aged 18 to 45”.
On April 28, the state government issued orders to procure 1.50 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation.
The announcement of the supply comes days after CM Palaniswami wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 26 against the differential price for states and the Center for purchasing vaccines. He had asked the Center for measures to procure and deliver the full amount of vaccine required.
MADRAS HC TAKES THE SUPERIOR HAND
The Madras HC heard a suo motu case on April 26 regarding the management of the COVID-19 situation in Tamil Nadu.
The court suggested a lockdown on May 1 and 2 to avoid an upsurge in cases during the recount. However, the government declined the suggestion, saying May 2, the count day, is Sunday anyway and the lockdown will be in place. May 1 is May 1 and therefore a public holiday.
Advocate General Vijay Narayan further said that a full lockdown on May 1 would also affect the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination, in which all those over 18 would be covered. It should be noted that the phase III vaccination campaign has not started.
ATTACK ELECTION COMMISSION
Launching a scathing attack on the Electoral Commission for failing to maintain the COVID-19 protocol during election campaigns, the Madras HC declared on April 26 that the EC “should be charged with murder … for being the most irresponsible institution “.
On the other hand, following numerous media reports on the observation of the “ murder charges ”, the Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu, Satyabrata Sahoo moved the Madras HC order the media to refrain from reporting oral submissions and to report only on observations recorded in orders or judgments. He pointed out that the said oral observation was ultimately not recorded in the order adopted that day.
On April 30, the court refused to block the media from publishing the court’s oral submissions and once again blamed the EC for the surge in COVID-19 cases.
EC Press Note on April 27, stressed that he was not responsible for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and enforcing the disaster management law. The memo read: “Enforcement under the 2005 law must be ensured by the relevant SDMA and notified authorities … In no case does the Commission take over the task of the SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority). for the application of the COVID-19 instructions. “
“ GENERATE A VACCINE IN PSU HLL BIOTECH ”
A demonstration was held under the leadership of the Confederation of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) outside the public sector HLL Biotech in Chengalpattu on April 30 to demand that it be made functional. The integrated vaccine complex is said to have the potential to produce a massive amount of vaccine, up to around 55 crore.
Employees, unions, left-wing parties and their MPs continued to push to make the unit fully functional. Union Minister Harsh Vardhan also visited the factory in January and assured that the factory would start to operate fully after consulting Prime Minister Modi, but to no avail.
PROTESTS AGAINST OPENING STERLITE COPPER
A multi-stakeholder meeting convened by CM Palaniswami on April 26 unanimously resolved to temporarily allow Vedanta’s sealed Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi to produce medical oxygen for four months.
The Anti-Sterlite People’s Confederation submitted a petition to the district collector on April 28 asking the state government to change its decision to open the plant. The confederation believes that this decision is nothing more than a stepping stone to open the copper smelter through the back door.
April 29 was declared a black day in Thoothukudi, opposing the decision of the Supreme Court and the government of Tamil Nadu to reopen the copper smelter. A the protest was also staging outside the district receiver’s office.
ACTOR SIDDHARTH ALLEGES BJP DEATH THREAT
Popular Southern actor Siddharth tweeted that his phone number was leaked by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and that he and his family have since received abusive and threatening calls.
Referring to the fact that he was being targeted for voicing and criticizing the ruling Center party, he added: “I will not be silent. Keep trying, ”and mentioned the official Twitter pseudonyms of Prime Minister Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah.
Commenting on this, the chairman of the Tamil Nadu IT wing of the BJP, Nirmal Kumar, said NewVSlick, “We don’t respond to individuals, but because actor Siddharth mentioned the IT wing of the BJP in his tweet, we are compelled to respond. Sharing numbers is cheap, we condemn it. We made inquiries and no one known to BJP did. However, he raised such a possibility in the lower ranks of the party, saying: “The circulation of numbers is common, it also happens in the lower ranks of other parties.”