The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has demanded an immediate national lockdown to break the chain of Covid-19 infections after 13,534 new infections and 97 deaths during the last 24 hours on Sunday took Bihar’s cumulative Covid-19 tally to 4.97 lakh cases and 2,739 deaths.
“We will appeal to the government to impose an immediate 15-day national lockdown to break the Covid-19 chain,” said Dr Sahajanand Prasad Singh, president (elect) of the national IMA.
Dr Singh has been advocating for a national lockdown for around a fortnight. He said the IMA would continue to urge the government to impose a nationwide lockdown as it would lessen the burden on the healthcare facilities which are already stressed.
Dr Ajay Kumar, acting president of the IMA, Bihar unit, said many senior doctors and heads of institutions were also in favour of a lockdown.
“Many senior doctors I spoke to are in favour of an immediate lockdown. I have spoken to the directors of AIIMS-Patna, Dr PK Singh, and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), Dr NR Biswas, besides the principal of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) Dr Vidyapati Choudhary, superintendents of PMCH Dr IS Thakur, NMCH Dr Binod Kumar Singh and the Netaji Subhas Medical College and Hospital Dr Uday Kumar. All of them are unanimous about a lockdown,” said Dr Kumar.
“We are also trying to involve the heads of medical units of the BJP and the JD(U) in our campaign for a lockdown but they are yet to respond,” Dr Kumar added.
He said the United Kingdom and China did well to contain the spread of the virus by imposing lockdowns. “The United States of America, on the other hand, had to pay a heavy price for not imposing a lockdown,” added Dr Kumar.
Talking about the lack of awareness in rural areas, he said there were still many people who came for consultation at his private clinic in Maner without wearing a mask. He said he would give sanitiser and masks to such patients to sensitise them against the virus.
“Six out of seven people who come to my clinic complaining of fever still do not get themselves tested for Covid-19 and roam around freely, without masks,” Dr Kumar said.
“Free movement of all such people will be curbed and the Covid-19 chain will be broken in case a lockdown is imposed, though some may argue that the country’s economy will suffer. Still, the risk is worth taking,” he added.