THD NewsDesk, CHANDIGARH: Punjab has dramatically turned the tables by attaining a 92% recovery rate – the highest in the country. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has set a precedent for other states struggling to flatten the curve rate, identifying the need for testing.
Punjab government has recently introduced free walk-in testing at government hospitals and mobile vans.
Free test kits have been provided to every registered chemist and pharmacy in addition to government hospitals and private labs, saving people the trouble of finding a proper testing centre. Now, the option of doorstep sample collection is also available to people who don’t have easy access to hospitals.
The process has been made hassle-free by removing the system of ‘parchis’ and allowing people to avail of the services by just giving their Aadhar card and mobile number. Results for Rapid Antigen Testing would be made available immediately on giving a nominal fee of 250 rupees to cover the manpower cost.
Health Minister Balbir Singh concerned about the pandemic spreading its tentacles said, “We have 648 government and private testing centers, each providing a walk-in facility for the testing. We are asking everyone to test, test, and test. We want to save lives. We have been observing that people are not forthcoming. They are delaying testing waiting for the symptoms to disappear. We are now launching an aggressive campaign in this direction.”
By May, Punjab had seen an unprecedented spike in cases that had claimed the lives of 54 people. By August the number became 386, and the fatality rate was at an all-time high of 6.98%, double the national average. From even struggling to keep the curve rate horizontal to entering the league of states with the highest recovery rate by June. Punjab’s doubling rate of Covid-19 cases has also improved from three days on May 5 to 102 days on May 24, which is much higher as compared to the national average of 13 days.
The CM has made the distribution of free food a vital part of the multi-pronged program. People sustaining on daily wages are apprehensive that if tested positive, they will be isolated from their family having limited means to survive. Focusing on effective solutions to encourage testing, the government ensured the supply of food to them.
Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan determined to curb the number of corona cases has declared that government training and test kits would soon be provided to private hospitals and labs. There are 648 testing centres in Punjab as of now, comprising of 603 government hospitals and 45 private labs. According to official reports, 20,000-25,000 samples are collected daily, and 11,01,912 people have been tested until now in Punjab.
CCTV cameras are being monitored to ensure that patients are properly treated in government hospitals. She also highlighted the need to involve NGOs and Gurudwaras to spread awareness through the expansion of the outreach.
The Punjab government has taken the wiser decision of implementing corrective measures swiftly and steadily. CM Singh has also ordered that regular meetings with state MLAs with senior officials and experts be held to come up with ways of counter misinformation regarding coronavirus at the local level. Home-isolation is being promoted as an alternative for people reluctant towards hospitalization.
Moreover, due to minimize the stigma attached to COVID positive patients, posters will be removed from outside their houses. Earlier criticized for delaying testing, the state is now being applauded for its people-centric policies. Punjab has indeed shown that governments can keep the cases from exploding if it is committed, which is a learning lesson for many state governments.