As Covid cases in Mysuru are on the rise, many of us are asking — Did the State Government make a mistake by striking down Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rohini Sindhuri’s Apr. 8 order? Could they have at least tweaked it and implemented it?
Many may recall that the DC had made RT-PCR negative report mandatory to visit places of tourist interest, convention halls, cinemas, resorts and recreation clubs. But, the Government struck it down, citing “legality.”
Later, the DC clarified saying RT-PCR was not mandatory, but an “advisory.” This confused people — Do we need RT-PCR or not? Even though the answer was obviously “not”, it created a mindblock in people. This meant that only people who really “needed” to be in Mysuru would come. This probably was her intention. But when the Government struck down DC’s order, and the DC gave a press statement that “no negative RT-PCR was required ” that mind-block went out of the window and they all flocked to the city.
As expected, many officials did not approve of the DC’s Apr. 8 order. They said, “DC’s orders should never be ambiguous.” True, but while one can blame her unconventional “strategy” the order’s intent is not to be missed, especially in these challenging times.
It was not just the DC who wanted to create some form of deterrent for tourists and weekend visitors, even the Commissioner of Police Dr. Chandragupta, the Superintendent of Police C.B. Ryshyanth and Health Officers were inclined towards creating some form of deterrent so weekend visitors don’t pour into the city, infect us and leave.
Also they feared people from rural Mysuru may visit the city during the festival and go back with the virus and spread it in rural areas around Mysuru where health infrastructure is not geared to handle covid. And now it seems that is exactly what’s happened — not only is urban Mysuru infected but also rural areas.
If one recalls, the DC passed that order on Apr. 8, just as Ugadi festival (Apr. 13) and a long weekend was approaching. She said we would have this deterrent for just 10 days from Apr. 10 to Apr. 20. She even warned that nearly 5,000 vehicles enter Mysuru everyday and it will only increase in the coming weeks due to a series of holidays. In March itself, 28 people had died in city due to covid, she warned.
Now, on Apr. 8, the day she tried to put in place a deterrent, Mysuru had 243 cases a day. As of Apr. 22, it was 818 cases and in the last 16 days since she had passed that order and cancelled it, 67 people have died !
What the Government is doing now could have been done two weeks ago. According to sources, when the DC, Police Commissioner, SP and Health Officers suggested closing of tourist centres during festival time for two weeks, the politicians said it would affect livelihoods. Well, they may have saved livelihoods but now we have lost lives.
Politicians too have a tough decision to make — livelihoods or lives? Add to the fact that the Government’s own financial health is connected to our livelihood, the Government cannot afford to declare a lockdown. That’s is why it should come up with other solutions that will keep the economic activities alive while slowing the spread of virus and preventing the healthcare infrastructure from being overwhelmed. Our DC was trying to do just that.
Instead of striking her order down, they could have deliberated on it and come up with what they came up now — COVID curfew — two weeks ago. If they had done that, even Bengaluru would not have descended into Covid chaos like it has now.
This morning it was reported that Bengaluru had its highest one-day covid death count while Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa at a meeting with Health Officials on Friday, remarked that the situation was “out of control.” No wonder that the Karnataka Government is now trying to get Private Hospitals with more than 30 beds to handover 80 percent of their beds to the Government for Covid-19 patients. Then what happens to the non-covid patients in these hospitals that may need ICU? Guess what? They’re coming to Mysuru along with covid patients.
In the past week, numerous covid patients from Bengaluru have moved to Mysuru. Our district has 3,106 hospital beds which includes 122 High-Flow Nasal Oxygen (HFNO) beds, 936 Oxygenated beds, 129 Ventilator beds and 176 ICU beds. Out of Actual 3,106 beds, 1,597 beds are allocated for covid patients, which means we have 62 HFNO beds, 453 Oxygenated beds, 58 Ventilator beds, 94 ICU beds and 930 Normal beds exclusively for Covid patients.
As of yesterday, 50 HFNO beds, 453 Oxygenated beds, 46 Ventilator beds, 68 ICU beds and 844 normal beds are available for Covid patients. This set up is for Mysureans. But now, patients from Bengaluru, Mandya, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar are all coming to Mysuru, what will we Mysureans do?
By the way, we are already hearing that there are no beds in Mysuru, but that is because most people want beds in specific Hospitals and in specific Private Hospitals. That is why we hear the complaints. As of now, as per Government officials and Private Hospitals there are beds available, but they are not sure how soon they will fill up as cases in Mysuru are increasing and patients from Bengaluru and other neighbouring districts are coming to the city.
As cases surge, the Government must realise they need to trust the DCs and Police Officials when they give their feedback. The Government while striking down Rohini Sindhuri’s order, even though it may have been not legit, should have considered the fact that she has not only been holding meetings with Government doctors and Hospitals regularly but also with Private Hospitals, doctors and senior Police Officers, so there is ground report in play, and she is acting on that information.
The Government must realise Mysuru DC is responsible for protecting Mysuru and Mysureans, which is what she was doing. And while striking down her orders, the Government should have realised her intent — creating a deterrent. If only they had created such a deterrent in Bengaluru two weeks ago, we wouldn’t see the disturbing numbers we see today.
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