Other States

Chhattisgarh CM Baghel blames Centre for COVID-19 outbreak

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Chhattisgarh CM says his government will carry out Rahul Gandhi’s suggestion of extensive and random testing.

The country could have been spared of all the problems arising out of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak if the Union government had quarantined all those coming from abroad, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said on April 9.

Though Chattisgarh was among the States with lowest reported COVID-19 cases, Mr. Baghel said, a final decision to lift the three-week lockdown would be taken only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chief Ministers on April 11.

“We are looking forward to the Centre's response on April 11 on the extension of the lockdown, and thereafter, a meeting of the Chhattisgarh Cabinet will be held on April 12 to decide the future course of action,” Mr. Baghel said. “There should be more discussions with the States and their views should be taken by the Centre before arriving at a decision on the lockdown extension.”

So far, Chhattisgarh has seen only 11 positive cases, with 9 of them being discharged. The last positive one was found on Wednesday with a history of coming in contact with persons who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi.

Mr. Baghel said that had the Centre taken the COVID-19 seriously, the country may have been spared from an extensive outbreak. “Had the government stopped international flights and kept all those coming to the country in quarantine, this virus could not have spread across the country and a lot of problems people are facing today could have been averted.”

Tablighi Jamaat event

Asked about Tablighi Jamaat event being perceived as a ‘super carrier,’ he said no religious colour should be given to it. He, however, did not give a clean chit to the organisers of the Nizamuddin congregation.

“If international passengers from hotspots have been stopped, the congregation could also not have happened. I am not giving a clean chit to any organisation. I am not saying they are innocent. But the government had the list of all those coming from abroad. It should have identified and quarantined them,” he said.

Mr. Baghel claimed that his government ordered the closure of schools, colleges and cinema halls as early as March 13 even though the first case was reported on March 18, and almost immediately sealed the borders with seven neighbouring States.

“We also noticed that people who returned from the United Kingdom showed symptoms of this disease. Thereafter, we home-quarantined 2,100 people who had a history of foreign travel,” he said. Even now, nearly 76,000 people across the State were under home quarantine.

The Chief Minister said his government would carry out Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s suggestion of extensive and random testing. “In some cases, people have tested positive two months after they have returned from abroad,” he said.

Mr. Baghel listed out the welfare measures taken by his government for the vulnerable sections of society. The Centre should provide funds to the States as they were in the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, he added.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 8:40:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/chhattisgarh-cm-baghel-blames-centre-for-covid-19-outbreak/article31301901.ece

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