Famed ‘Agra model’ loses sheen

With the total number of COVID-19 cases in Agra touching 199 on Saturday, the highest in Uttar Pradesh, the famed ‘Agra model’ — of lockdown enforcement, marking of epicentres and buffer zones, up to 1,250 teams for contact tracing in the early days, and pool testing recently — has lost some of its sheen. To put things in perspective, the district with a population of around 30 lakh has 40 hotspots, while Delhi, which has around 3 crore people, has 76. On Saturday, a two-member team of doctors from Lucknow visited to audit the cases.

Those involved in the fight against the virus in the district say the administration managed to effectively control the infection spread by the tourists but the sudden spurt of cases related to the religious congregation in Delhi and irresponsible behaviour on the part of some private hospitals derailed the process of containment.

Irresponsible behaviour

Locals alleged that at least three private hospitals which continued to treat walk-in patients didn’t follow protocol. They contributed at least 50 cases in Agra and allowed the virus to find feet in neighbouring districts that are the catchment areas of these hospitals.

FIRs have been registered against the owners of Paras Hospital and Sarthak Hospital for allegedly hiding information about the COVID-19-infected persons. SP (City) Rohan Botre Pramod said the police had reasons to believe that they behaved irresponsibly. The FIR, registered under sections 188, 269, 270 and 271 of the IPC, says when the authorities took out people to isolate them, they found 220 people, as against 73 reported by the hospitals. It allegedly led to a virus spread in neighbouring districts, particularly Mainpuri and Firozabad. “We immediately informed the officials in neighbouring districts,” he said. The owner of one of the private hospitals allegedly hid the travel history of his son, also a doctor, and continued treating him at the hospital till the police knocked at their door.

“Agra is a medical hub not just for neighbouring districts but also neighbouring States. Doctors can’t wait for two days for the test report in emergency cases. The first patient in Paras hospital had a grave renal problem and required dialysis. There was no way the doctors could have guessed it. Now, we are wiser. She turned out to be a contact of a person who attended the religious congregation in Delhi,” said Dr. R.M. Pachori, district president of Indian Medical Association.

He reminded that in each of the hospitals, doctors and technical staff had been tested positive. “It could not be deliberate. In the government-run S.N. Medical College also, ward boys have been found positive. The nature of this virus is such that it is hard to predict its path.”

Dr. Pachori said Agra could be compared to Jaipur, another tourist spot. “We have fared better than Jaipur. We now have two facilities for testing Agra. We had had a few setbacks and will soon be in control of the situation.”

Mr. Pramod, who is leading the contact tracing team, said, “In the first phase we controlled the spread by strong contact tracing and containment measures. The public at large is following the rules of lockdown. With around 300 samples being tested every day and contacts being effectively traced, we are back on the right path.”

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 10:23:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/famed-agra-model-loses-sheen/article31378879.ece

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