Private nursing homes and hospitals in Agra have virtually withdrawn from the battle against COVID-19, which is now spreading its tentacles in the hinterland.
Only three private nursing homes are offering their services in a big district like Agra with a population of around 50 lakh.
The private medical facilities are reluctant to carry on as they do not find the treatment rates fixed by the government for coronavirus cases as rational or justifiable and also due to shortage of trained doctors and paramedical staff.
Some nursing homes do not have adequate space to isolate corona patients and thus find it hard to follow the Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines.
Even government testing facilities have come under acute pressure, with only the district hospital and the SN Medical College authorised to collect samples for testing.
The private laboratories earlier granted permission to test samples have been asked to hold on till fresh guidelines are framed by the Health Department.
Shortage of oxygen, trained manpower, ICU beds are proving to be a huge challenge to the COVID-19 Task Force in the district. Complaints against insurance agencies have also multiplied.
In the past 24 hours, 106 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Agra, including a doctor posted at a medical college and another posted at the Chief Medical Officer’s office. Mathura district reported 82 new cases, Mainpuri 52, Firozabad 40, and Etah 26.
COVID-19 hospitals have been asked to submit their demands and inventory of requirements two weeks in advance.
A sense of complacency among the people towards COVID-19 precautions is a matter of concern for the district administration which finds itself in a bind over unlock or lockdown options.
“Obviously the demands of the economy necessitate early resumption of economic activities, but the guidelines have to be strictly followed. People are being sensitised and the Agra Nagar Nigam the cleanliness drive continues vigorously,” BJP corporator Anurag Chaturvedi from Belanganj area said.
Meanwhile, government offices in Agra are not functioning to their capacity, resulting in delays and piling up of work, complain local citizens.
“Every day, some one or the other official is testing positive in government offices, forcing their closure for sanitation for a couple of days. Naturally, the public work suffers, though all efforts are made to keep the momentum high,” an official maintained.