IMA calls for national lockdown to help health infra recover

Doctors’ body criticises slow govt. response to virulent second wave.

May 08, 2021 04:45 pm | Updated 04:45 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Workers refill medical oxygen cylinders for COVID-19 patients, in West Delhi. File

Workers refill medical oxygen cylinders for COVID-19 patients, in West Delhi. File

Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday asked the Central government to announce a national lockdown to help the healthcare infrastructure recoup and replenish.

It a statement, the Association said: “We are astonished to see the extreme lethargy and inappropriate actions from the Health Ministry in combating the agonising crisis born out of the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The largest grouping of physicians from across the country further noted that in the last 20 days, it has been insisting on the need for complete, well-planned pre-announced national lockdown rather than few States declaring complete lockdown ranging for 10 days to 15 days.

‘Breathing time’

“This will allow breathing time for the health care infrastructure to recoup and replenish both the material and manpower. Lockdown will break the chain of devastating spread. However, the Central government had refused to heed, to implement lockdown resulting in the mounting of new patients beyond four lakh every day and the number of moderate to severe cases are increasing to nearly 40%,” it said.

Stating that the sporadic night curfews have not done any good, the IMA said “life is more precious than the economy”.

The Association added that it is unfortunate the government has failed to make the necessary road map to ensure vaccine stock, resulting in the fact that at a majority of the places vaccination could not be rolled out for people above 18 years.

It said that in 1997 and 2014 India could declare eradication of smallpox and polio, only by adopting the universal free vaccination and not by a differential pricing system.

“When ₹35,000 crore were allotted in the budget, with which the maximum required 200 crore vaccine doses are purchasable, why did the Central government not take full responsibility? Today for nearly a week no vaccine is available in small and medium private hospitals. People are succumbing to oxygen mismatch supply and it is creating panic both among patients and medical fraternity,” said the Association, appealing for urgent action.

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