Agra scales up strategy to combat COVID-19, cases reach 1,158

The Agra district administration has scaled up its efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, after a wordy duel with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has tweeted twice drawing attention to the alarming number of deaths in the Taj city and the failure of the Agra model.

The Agra District Magistrate P.N. Singh has already rejected the allegations and asked her to revise her position in the light of facts.

It may be recalled that the Agra model was hyped and flaunted in April. After the initial success, conditions took an alarming turn, first due to the scare created by the Tablighis and later because of the mass influx of migrant workers through the district.

Since private laboratories and nursing homes have either refused or are reluctant to join the state government efforts to contain the pandemic, the over all situation continues to remain grim at the ground level. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the vast rural hinterland has now been exposed to the infection spread. This could only get confounded with monsoon rains about to begin.

The reluctance on the part of the private hospitals is mainly due to the rates fixed by the state government. The managements of these private institutions do not find the rates reasonable or justifiable, considering the risks involved and expenses on testing likely to be incurred.

Under pressure, after being targeted by the opposition leaders and the family members of the victims, the district management has now deputed six IAS officials to constantly monitor conditions and facilities in the 66 containment zones. The Chief Development Officer (CDO) will randomly check all the hot spots in the city.

Meanwhile, with two more deaths, the number of fatalities in the district has gone upto 81. Ten fresh cases in the last 24 hours have taken the Covid tally to 1,158. The Health officials said 965 have recovered and the number of active cases was 112. So far, 19,389 samples have been collected.

As a precautionary measure, most government offices had made thermal screening at the entrances compulsory.

The district police has tightened the grip on violators of the guidelines. As many as 8,133 people have been fined for spitting in public or not wearing masks. More than a thousand vehicle owners have been challaned in the past few days for violating the social distancing norms.