Chennai

Chaos prevails at Remdesivir counters in Nehru stadium

No fear of virus: Crowd waiting to buy Remdesivir at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: SRINIVASAN KV

Utter chaos and confusion prevailed at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on Saturday when the sale of Remdesivir began. People had started waiting in the queue from Friday night without following any COVID-19 safety protocol. There was a stampede-like situation and people sat on road roko demanding the distribution of the drug.

The counter was shifted to the stadium from the Government Kilpauk Medical College because of overcrowding.

The Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) distributes only 300 tokens every day. Relatives or family members of patients can enter the stadium from Gate 5 and exit through Gate 4.

Desperate relatives and family members of patients started waiting in the queue since Friday night. The crowd swelled on Saturday morning. A section of the crowd managed to reach the counter and collected the drug but a large number of people were unable to get it and were frustrated. They jostled, pushed the police personnel and broke the cordon. The crowd then squatted the road demanding sthe drug.

R. Vasudevan of Villivakkam said: “My friend who is a person with disability and his wife have contracted infection. I have been waiting at the Government Kilpauk Medical College from April 12 to buy the drug and to save their lives. But I have not been able to buy it till today. In fact, I had registered at Kilpauk. We were told that all our registration details would be forwarded here. Expecting smooth distribution, we were waiting from Friday night here. We were turned away here citing that we have to register once again. We don't know how long we have to wait.

“Around 5.30 am., I came here to buy for my wife and I had registered at Government Kilpauk Medical College. Even the policemen on duty here have no clue on where we should wait in the queue. They told us that there was no separate queue for people who already registered and asked us to stand in the queue wherever we wanted. More than 2,000 people stood before me and I did not get the drug. I was dragged here and there. Tomorrow is a holiday,” he said.

Tulsi Rao from Kilpauk said, “Here physical distance is not at all maintained. Authorities are laying emphasis on physical distance. Now, they gathered a huge crowd here. Will we not contract infection here now? Most of the people here are possibly exposed to COVID patients.”

Joint Commissioner of Police (East) V. Balakrishnan and other officers held talks with the protesters and assured them of delivery of drugs soon. Then they dispersed from the spot while a few of them stayed back.

Expert’s concern

Prabhdeep Kaur, public health expert tweeted, “This is perfect setting for #Covid19 cluster. Will make lockdown ineffective. Remdesivir is not a life-saving drug. Yet, if Govt wants to help patients in private hospitals - it should be given directly to the hospitals.”


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 2:35:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chaos-prevail-at-jawaharlal-nehru-stadium/article34568681.ece

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