Coronavirus | Bihar slaps night curfew; closes all schools, public places till May 15
CM Nitish Kumar meets officials after all party meeting
After a marathon four-hour meeting with district magistrates and top officials on Sunday after an all-party meeting on Saturday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. across the State and closure of schools, colleges, cinema halls, parks, religious places and swimming pools till May 15.
“After a long meeting today with officials, the crisis management group decided to impose night curfew in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases,” Mr. Kumar told media persons, adding, “We’ll keep monitoring the situation to take our next course of action.”
Earlier on Saturday, a virtual all-party meeting was convened by Governor Phagu Chauhan on the pandemic.
Shops, organisations, vendors will be opened till 6 p.m. and all government and non-government offices will be shut by 5 p.m., added Mr. Kumar.
“We’ve also discussed at length about availability of oxygen cylinders, beds, ambulances and other things at the meeting,” he said. “Quarantine centres at divisional headquarter level will be opened for those coming from outside of the State and employment generation will be looked into for them.”
Earlier on Saturday a senior doctor and superintendent of Bihar’s Covid-19 dedicated Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) had written to the government seeking to be relieved from his post due to lack of oxygen supply in the hospital which has put life of dozens of patients in danger.
“Despite my several reminders, the hospital is not being provided adequate oxygen supply which has put lives of dozens of patients in danger. I’m afraid that after patient’s death due to lack of oxygen, blame will be pinned on the NMCH Superintendent. So, you’re requested to kindly relieve me immediately from my post of superintendent, NMCH,” wrote Dr. Vinod Kumar Singh in his one page letter dated April 17.
The Bihar chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA) too had lodged a protest over government’s mismanagement in hospitals over COVID-19 treatment and urged the government to have meeting with Association officials. “Infected doctors are not being provided beds in hospitals but the VIPs have been occupying it even with mild symptoms of the disease,” the IMA said.
Later, while sharing Dr. Singh’s letter, Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav took on Mr Kumar on social media.
“This is fake development of Nitish Kumar. The superintendent of NMCH has requested to relieve him from the post due to lack of oxygen in the hospital. You just imagine the situation. You cannot question the Chief Minister of 16 years. What is 16? he will not accept his mistake even after he remains CM for 1,600 years,” Mr. Yadav tweeted.
For past one week Bihar has been witnessing a surge in COVID-19 patients, acute shortage of oxygen cylinders, beds in hospitals and anti-viral medicines. Most of the hospitals in the capital, Patna have put up boards saying there were no beds or oxygen available. Rows of ambulances could be seen running with blaring sirens on the roads of Patna and parked outside the hospital gates in serpentine queues.
However, the government has claimed to be keeping tabs on everything and of making arrangement to ensure supply of oxygen and availability of beds in hospitals. Till 6 p.m. on Sunday, a total of 8,690 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State.
“The situation in Bihar is quite alarming. If the situation is so grim in the State capital, Patna, one can imagine about it in other remote districts where medical infrastructure is just for name sake. Sooner the government gets its medical infrastructure proper, the better it will be. Otherwise, with such dismal medical infrastructure Bihar may hit the headlines for all wrong reason soon,” warned a senior doctor of a government hospital, requesting anonymity.