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“Increase Number Of Covid-19 Tests”

Despite Mumbai being one of the most Covid-19 affected areas, efforts from NGOs and political parties have hugely helped in bringing the situation under control

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Maharashtra has been the state most affected by Covid-19. Extraordinary efforts must have been undertaken to bring the situation under control. Manoj Kotak, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha has said, “In the past six months, people’s lives changed drastically due to the coronavirus pandemic. I am thankful to our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi for adopting a nation-wide lockdown in order to break the chain of transmission of the deadly disease.” He also shared that after the lockdown was adopted, the lives of people have changed drastically and Mumbai suffered the most, as the number of Covid-19 affected persons kept increasing in the city. A huge city both by size and population faced serious challenges in managing the spread of disease within the city premises. “However, we managed to contain it within limits,” Kotak said. 

The MP representing the Mumbai North East constituency stated, “Our NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organisations) together with political parties have worked brilliantly to bring the situation under control.” Regarding the status of the current situation, he said, “Though the number of cases decreased considerably in between, however, now the number of cases has spiked much, and we are presently in the second phase.” 

Kotak further added, “At the time when most people did not want to come out due to the fear of virus spread, a lot of NGOs and political party workers ran community kitchens in order to continue the support of providing food to the people who lost their jobs and to the backward communities.” 

The question stands: what could have been done to deal with the situation better? Kotak said, “More number of tests should have been done to track the cases and then treat them well.” “In order to deal with this situation better and curb the spread of the disease, we have been demanding on behalf of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) for increasing the number of tests to detect and understand the pandemic situation better.” 

Kotak gave the example of New Delhi on how to deal with the pandemic situation. “In New Delhi, the number of tests were increased and that helped curbing the spread of disease becomes easier since the identification of infected person becomes easier and the spread of the disease can be checked. Also, proper medical facilities to be given to the infected person.” Thus, the biggest challenge, in his opinion, remained that the number of tests could not be increased, even though the lab capacities in the city were increased. “The number of tests done could not go beyond 8000,” Kotak said. 

Right information to people during the crisis 

Apart from doing the right number of tests, bringing the right information to the people on what is actually happening concerning the pandemic is very important during this crisis period. Kotak stated, “It became very important in the first place to inculcate the belief in  people that even though Covid-19 has been a deadly disease, it is curable too. Also, we needed to make people believe that we need to fight the disease of Covid-19 and not the infected person.” Further, he added, “To raise confidence among people who were pretty scared with the international spread of the disease and increase in the number of cases was a major task on our behalf to deal with the disease.” 

If the situation can be looked back on when India got its initial cases of Covid-19, several industry experts believe that our healthcare sector in the country was not in a strong position since we were dependent on other countries for most healthcare supplies like ventilators, masks, sanitisers and others. Kotak said, “During that time, it was the best decision as per situation to implement a nation-wide lockdown, firstly to break the spread of the disease and secondly to educate citizens of the fact that though Covid-19 virus is a pandemic by nature, but each of us can play a crucial role in combatting it by adopting social distancing norms in an optimum manner.” 

“It also became mandatory to identify and build small groups of people to work on specific segments like sanitisation, the issue of migrant labours, among others, which became burning issues at the time,” Kotak pointed out. “In our political system, the major task was of bringing people out of the severe situation in difficult hours and to run this major movement with a defined leadership role in which each of us had played diligently,” he asserted.

Kotak believes it is a landmark step taken by the Government of India to provide food supplies and groceries to backward classes during the crisis. “Covid-19 enabled the society to run a movement that enabled a change in the concept of leadership and henceforth inculcate it in the grassroots level,” Kotak said.

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magazine issue 7 Oct 2020 Covid vaccine Manoj Kotak