Last week, Rajasthan government extended its weekend curfew for two weeks as the single-day spike of COVID-19 cases crossed the 10,000 mark in the state for the first time since the pandemic began.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s decision of imposing the restrictions came after multiple COVID review meetings over the weekend. The government has termed the restrictions till May 3 as ‘Jan Anushashan Pakhwara’ (public discipline fortnight) rather than calling it a lockdown.
“The situation is really terrible, it’s heartbreaking to see these people standing hours outside the hospitals and still not receiving the medications. Only 27% of Remdesivir is supplied to Rajasthan, the government has control of the drugs still it is being black marketed,” says Dr AV Kokhar of Swastik Hospital, Kota.
“This is the first time that there are huge lines in hospitals even in the small clinics,” Kokhar told Maktoob. “Rajasthan is in the grips of the second wave, I fear that citizens will bear the consequences of the government’s mistakes.”
Only 60 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in February while the highest was 3200 during the first wave as compared to April when Rajasthan reported its highest single-day spike of 14468 new infections on Thursday and 59 deaths.
According to the official report issued by the government, the tally of coronavirus cases stands at 4,83,273 and the death toll at 3,453. The report stated that Rajasthan currently has 1,17,294 active cases of the disease.
Out of the total fresh fatalities, 11 were from Jaipur, 10 in Jodhpur, six in Kota, five in Udaipur, three each in Bikaner and Chittorgarh, two each in Bharatpur, Bhilwara, Jhalwar, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Sawaimadhopur and Sikar, and one death each was reported from Ajmer, Alwar, Baran, Barmer, Durgapur, Jalore and Sirohi.
Chairing the COVID-19 review meet, Chief Minister Gehlot said that 30 percent of the total coronavirus cases are coming from the villages. “Cases have risen with significant numbers in villages and the border districts of the state as the people are now returning back to their homes from Kumbh Mela, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Delhi,” Ashok Gehlot told NDTV.
‘Jan Anushashan Pakhwara’
During the fortnight, all non-essentials private offices will remain closed except those connected with essential services such as offices of state and central government, groceries stores, dairies, ration shops and health services.
According to the guidelines, groceries shop, ration shops and dairies are allowed to remain open till 5 pm. Vegetable vendors shall sell their vegetables till 7 pm and petrol pumps have been allowed to remain open till 8 pm.
All the religious places, cinema halls, educational institutes and shopping complexes shall remain closed. Those travelling to Rajasthan from other states will have to show their RT-PCR report that has to be collected within 72 hours of travel.
Only 20 people will be allowed for performing the last rites while the limit is reduced to 50 for wedding parties. Importantly, all the manufacturing industries and factories will remain open so as to avoid the migration of labourers.
Adding that the situation is really worrying as all the states including Rajasthan is requesting the centre to coordinate with the states.
While the restrictions are expected to curb the numbers, the immense shortage of medicines, oxygen cylinders and vaccines will create problems in the state as the COVID-19 deaths are increasing everyday, said Raghu Sharma, the Health Minister of Rajasthan.
Rajasthan is facing shortage of oxygen, vaccine supply and important drugs as the supply of these essentials are rationed by central government due to new situation.
“The centre has also taken control over the oxygen that was produced in Bhiwadi, to distribute in the entire country but when we saw the figure, the allocation of oxygen to Rajasthan was only 124 mt while the allocation to Gujarat was 900 mt, the centre should answer the questions of this unequal distribution. We can’t let people die,” Health Minister Raghu Sharma told The Print.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Friday with Chief Ministers of 10 states that are worst hit by COVID-19. The meeting via video conferencing took place amid a huge rise in coronavirus cases, which have now reported over 3 lakh in 24 hours.
India on Friday recorded the world’s highest single-day spike in corona cases with 3,32,730 fresh new cases pushing the nationwide tally to 1,66,02,456.
Noorail Khan is an undergrad student of business administration in Jaipur and an intern with Maktoob.