Haryana's Home and Health Minister Anil Vij in Ambala | Photo: Urjita Bhardwaj | ThePrint
Haryana's Home and Health Minister Anil Vij in Ambala | Photo: Urjita Bhardwaj | ThePrint
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Ambala: As a new wave of Covid-19 infections sweeps across India, the state of Haryana too is seeing a jump in cases. The state has so far recorded 3,24,544 cases overall since the beginning of the pandemic, but 24,027 of these cases are currently active. Haryana recorded its highest single-day jump of 3,845 cases Tuesday.

In this scenario, the state has enforced a lockdown at night to try and slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus. The timings of this lockdown have been revised, and it will now be enforced from 10 pm to 5 am from the earlier 9 pm to 5 am.

ThePrint spoke to Haryana’s Home and Health Minister Anil Vij to understand how the state is planning to tackle the sudden surge in cases. He said this is certainly a more infectious wave of the virus, but the state is prepared to handle it.

“It is true that this wave is more infectious, as all the family members are testing positive when one member gets infected. That’s why the numbers are increasing… (But) we have prepared ourselves well for the second wave. All the arrangements that were made during the first wave have been made now as well,” Vij said.

“We have 45,000 quarantine beds in the state, 15,000 isolation beds, and 1,000 ventilator beds,” the minister detailed, adding that the state has an adequate number of remdesivir injections to treat patients, and more are being purchased to avoid a shortage.

Vij also denied the possibility of a shortage of vaccines in Haryana. Asked about the Maharashtra health minister’s allegations that the Centre is supplying a lesser number of vaccines to his state and more to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Vij said some people are just talking politically.

“The maximum vaccines of any state have been given to Maharashtra. But people talk politically, and I am simply telling the reality,” he said.

Also read: Why Haryana CM Khattar’s Karnal constituency is facing a Covid crisis

Vaccination going smoothly

Vij also said that the vaccination drive in Haryana is progressing smoothly, and more targets shall be met soon.

“We have administered the vaccine to 28 lakh people, and will give it to 35 lakh more people till the end of April. In Haryana, there are 60 lakh people above the age of 45. Our target is that by May, every person in this age group will be provided the vaccine,” he said.

The minister added that while there were initial difficulties, they were soon overcome.

“We found a solution and involved the general public in our vaccination programme. We reached out to social, religious, business and political organisations and urged them to organise camps in their respective areas,” he detailed.

Vij added that there was no way Haryana’s health infrastructure would collapse under the rising Covid burden.

“The system has been maintained well and I have also directed all the district commissioners that if needed, they can acquire private hospital beds under the Epidemic Act. In Haryana, 70 per cent of patients are in home isolation. I have also constituted teams in every district who will check upon every patient in an isolated home every other day, give medicines, test them and provide them literature. So our situation is under control,” he emphasised.

No lockdown in Haryana

Vij said there was no possibility of a lockdown being imposed in Haryana, but that the state would control the Covid situation through strict protocols and rules. “We want people to follow the rules strictly. I have directed the additional chief secretaries of home, health and local bodies departments to ensure that people follow the guidelines strictly,” he stressed.

“We want that life should go on, and it should be saved too. We have imposed a curfew at night because it does not affect businesses. Nobody needs to migrate; factories can function during the days and migrant labourers can continue working in the cities,” he said.

However, Vij did say the farmers’ agitation against the three central farm laws passed last year has become a cause of worry for him, in terms of the possibility of infection spreading.

“If such a large number is gathered, it will be difficult to follow Covid protocols. This is why I have written a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to continue the rounds of talks, so that the farmers can go home and their issues are resolved. Because in a democracy, issues are resolved through dialogues. There is no other way,” Vij added.

(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)

Also read: Anil Vij — Haryana’s BJP minister who cracks down on IPS officers, clashes with boss Khattar


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