April 26, 2021 3:24:14 am
As Chandigarh battles the second wave and Covid case count continues to spiral, SAURABH PRASHAR spoke to UT Adviser Manoj Parida about the administration’s strategy to cope with the virus and upcoming challenges.
What are the steps the UT is taking to keep the virulent second surge at bay? What is the broad strategy?
Test, trace, isolate, treat and vaccinate as many people as possible and as early as possible.
Are you planning to re-draw circles outside shops to ensure people maintain social distance?
Shop owners and customers have been sensitized and warned. Educated Chandigarh residents do not need pictorial guidance.
Crowds continue to throng apni mandis and grain market with no Covid protocol. How do you plan to tackle the threat of spread from these areas?
We will review our decision on Apni Mandis if the Covid numbers grow further.
There is no distancing or implementation of Covid protocol in eateries. What is your role?
Eateries have been advised to maintain distance protocol. We are also closing them by 9pm. Specific complaints will be dealt with sternly. We may even name and shame the eateries.
Masks are still missing at public places. Your take.
In my view masks are worn by 80 percent of the people in Chandigarh. However, we are enhancing both enforcement and challenging.
Do you plan to augment beds and testing centres in view of the spiraling numbers?
Yes, augmenting beds, both in ICU wards and Covid care centers, is our priority. We may requisition private hospitals as well. We have also requested Army for a 100- bed hospital, and are awaiting their response. As for testing centres, we have enough of these in government and private sector.
What about oxygen supply?
We have adequate oxygen in government hospitals. We set up three new oxygen plants in our hospitals in a record time during the pandemic. Chandigarh administration has received a lot of praise for this endeavour. GOI is also monitoring and ensuring the availability of oxygen in the city.
What is your strategy for the vaccination drive from May 1? Will vaccines be available at more dispensaries? Are you planning mobile centres?
We have 70 centres giving vaccines and four mobile teams for a population of 12 lakh in area of 114 sq km. This is more than adequate. Going forward, anyone with a list of 100 eligible persons can invite us to hold a vaccination camp in his area.
Why is the UT more lax in restrictions as compared to neighboring Mohali and Panchkula?
We are not lax. We are striking a balance between life and livelihood. As a UT, we follow the GOI policy. The honourable PM has said lockdown should be only the last resort.
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