Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday said black fungus, or mucormycosis, had emerged as a “new challenge” in the state while daily Covid-19 cases were steadily declining, and directed officials to write to the Centre and request it to “increase the allocation of the medicines used in the treatment of this disease”. This instruction from the chief minister came on a day the Union Ministry of Health urged states and Union Territories to make black fungus a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897.
Adityanath said the medicines required to treat black fungus should be available in adequate quantities in every district. “The total population of the state and the number of patients should be kept in mind while sending the requisition letter,” he added.
“The black fungus problem is seen in people who have recovered from Covid. The cases have been found in some districts of the state. The Department of Health and Medical Education should ensure that every patient with black fungus receives appropriate treatment. Black fungus is a rare disease. Therefore, the availability of medicines should be ensured in its treatment. The government of India is also cooperating in this work. We should make arrangements to ensure the availability of medicines in the private sector also. Under no circumstances should there be black marketing of these drugs,” Adityanath said.
The chief minister also said that virtual ICUs should be set up in medical colleges with a high active Covid-19 caseload. This proposal is based on guidelines put forward by an expert committee the government had formed. Experienced doctors should guide doctors across the state on treating black fungus, Adityanath added.
In its advisory, the Union health ministry said the fungal infection was causing “prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst Covid-19 patients”. Though centralised data for black fungus infection across the state is not available, the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) here confirmed it had recorded 73 black fungus cases so far. Of these, 23 were registered in the preceding 24 hours. The hospital added that the infection had killed eight patients so far, four of which occurred in the last one day. The premier medical facility said two mucormycosis patients had undergone surgery since Wednesday while one patient had been discharged so far.
Meanwhile, the state health department said the patient count declined to 1,16,434 in 24 hours. The state registered 6,725 new Covid-19 cases while 13,590 persons recovered from the respiratory disease. The toll jumped by 238, with 21 deaths occurring in Lucknow, 16 reported in Varanasi and 15 in Ghazipur.
The government claimed to have intensified testing and vaccination in rural Uttar Pradesh. Additional Chief Secretary (Information) Navneet Sehgal told reporters that between March 31 and May 18 more than 1.07 crore samples were tested, over 70 lakh of which were from villages. The increase in testing in rural UP was part of the government’s efforts to stop the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, from wreaking havoc in villages.
The government said that as part of these efforts Common Service Centres (CSCs) established in all 75 districts on the chief minister’s instructions had started functioning. These centres will help villagers register for the Covid-19 vaccination on the CoWIN website.
“We have installed the CSCs to speed up the vaccination process in remote areas of the state. Along with the registrations, we are also planning to provide vaccination at these centres in the near future,” said a government spokesperson.