The Coronavirus Pandemic has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the world, and it would have most probably created a dangerous world order by the time it subsides. But what the COVID-19 outbreak has also done is put administrators- both at a national level and local level to test.
The Coronavirus Pandemic is a test of governance brands, and the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has come out with flying colours.
Madhya Pradesh was headed for a Corona nightmare. Shivraj says that he did not inherit a very robust system from his predecessor, Kamal Nath. According to him, “When I became the chief minister, a large number of Covid-19 cases were reported from Indore on March 24. Since then, the number has kept rising because the transmission had already spread extensively in some localities. These localities were reporting a large number of cases and even deaths. The Kamal Nath government had not taken any action to contain this.”
To further complicate matters for Madhya Pradesh, the infamous Tablighi Jamaat congregation affected the state profoundly.
Shivraj said, “Tablighi Jamaat members of Madhya Pradesh who joined this event in Delhi, came back and scattered into many corners and prime areas of the state. They are also the reason for this sudden rise as they responded reluctantly and did not come forward willingly and thus indirectly spread it among others.”
By mid-April, we had scary reports coming from Madhya Pradesh starting with the state health department in Bhopal itself. 94 officials from the department got infected with the novel Wuhan virus.
Indore had registered 696 cases by this time, and then there were also disturbing visuals of a communally enraged mob going berserk in the Tattpati Bakhal area of the city. Health workers who went there to check for Coronavirus suspects were taken aback by an unruly mob.
Days later, Tattpati Bhakal too had recorded a sharp surge in Coronavirus cases. For a moment it seemed as if Madhya Pradesh would be going the Maharashtra way. The pattern of the spread of the Coronavirus infection around the world tells us that once the number of cases starts rising, things eventually go out of control.
But then Madhya Pradesh had an able administrator, Shivraj Singh Chouhan at the helm of affairs who got his act together in no time. He took a slew of measures to break the chain of the spread of Coronavirus and at the same dealt firmly with lawbreakers.
Today, Madhya Pradesh is one of the best performing states. Look at the numbers- the state has restricted total cases to 14,106. The recovery rate of Madhya Pradesh stands at 77 per cent today, which is way better than the national average of 60 per cent. There are only 2,702 active cases in the state now. Madhya Pradesh is winning the battle against the Chinese virus.
But this did not come easily. A lot of infrastructure has been developed in merely three months to fight the deadly infection. Chouhan said, “The state had one testing lab three months ago with only 60 tests per day capacity. Now, 30 labs have been developed for testing corona in the state with a capacity of 9,000 tests per day. The State’s recovery rate is 77%, which is better than other states. Infection has come down.”
The fight against Coronavirus has been further bolstered by door-to-door surveys. In May, Chouhan said, “We extensively increased the testing rate and have done a survey of 8-9 lakh people in Indore which is a high-risk zone. We also carried out door-to-door survey and acted against people spreading rumours and those who misbehaved.”
The Chief Minister also made it a point to bring down the case-to-fatality ratio and avoid a disproportionately high number of Coronavirus casualties.
According to an official statement in May, “The Chief Minister directed the doctors and administrative officials to analyse each death caused by COVID-19.”
“The death rate has to be reduced by ensuring the best system of COVID-19 treatment in the state. Every life is precious to us”, Shivraj told medical teams and administration officials.
Now, as the recovery rate in Madhya Pradesh is rising rapidly, the final mortality rate will drop sharply once the ongoing Pandemic fizzles out.
From a state that was headed towards an absolute disaster at one time has now managed to make six districts Coronavirus-free. Madhya Pradesh has reached the last phase of the battle against Wuhan virus, and now Chouhan wants to kill Coronavirus.
He has actually launched a ‘Kill Corona campaign’. The door-to-door survey will be conducted during this 15-day long campaign to track COVID-19 patients in Madhya Pradesh.
The Chief Minister said, “We have to combat coronavirus together. Our victory is certain. We all should take a resolution that we will make Madhya Pradesh a corona and disease-free state.”
This is going to be a massive exercise in terms of logistics. 11,458 survey teams have been constituted for the purpose. Non-contact thermometers, pulse oximeters and essential protective gears will be provided to every team.
COVID-19 suspected patients will be sampled during this exercise. But apart from tracking suspected patients of severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and influenza-like illness (ILI), malaria, dengue and chikungunya suspects will also be identified.
More than three lakh samples will be taken and the information will be uploaded on ‘Sarthak app’. And then a massive testing drive will happen for which Madhya Pradesh is augmenting testing capacity to 21,000 tests per day.
Shivraj has already contained Coronavirus and now he wants to eradicate it- quite an achievement for a state that was going the Maharashtra way during the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.