Collector S. Aneesh Sekhar in an interaction with The Hindu on Monday said oxygen availability in the hospitals in the district was sufficient. More than imposing fines on violators of COVID-19 lockdown norms, he appealed to the people to practise self-discipline. Edited excerpts:
Question: How is the COVID-19 situation in Madurai?
Answer: The peak was 600 [cases] per day during May-end. It has started showing a declining trend now. In city limits, the numbers are 150 per day.
Q: What is the stock position of vaccines?
A: We have around 16,000 doses available right now. We hope to get more numbers in the coming days.
Q: What are the priorities now for the district administration?
A: We have planned to conduct door-to-door checks on people with fever and cold-like symptoms. The results of the swabs taken shall be made known in about 12-16 hours. The idea is to ensure that people with COVID-19 were contained. Secondly, we will be closely monitoring the people participating in marriages and funerals. The markets have already been decongested.
Q: What are the measures to be taken after relaxation in lockdown?
A: More than imposing fines, self-regulation and self-discipline would be the ideal way. We cannot say the pandemic will end with the numbers declining. Hence, it is in people’s hands to prevent the third wave.
Q: Any plans to install CCTV cameras in COVID-19 ward in GRH and Covid Care Centres?
A: It is a good idea. We will explore the possibilities of installing cameras like in the COVID ward in Ramanathapuram Government Hospital. Apart from an effective surveillance, the grievances of the inpatients in the isolation wards can be redressed at a much faster pace.
Q: What are the steps taken to decongest crowding in vaccination centres?
A: In coordination with an NGO, the ‘Covid Free Madurai’ people willing to take vaccination have to register after they get an OTP. Similarly, those above 45 years can take the vaccine shots at the authorised centres. Priority groups (such as frontline workers) between 18 and 45 years shall get preference as per the health protocol.
Q: How many ration cardholders have received the financial assistance so far?
A: About 99 % of the eligible cardholders have received the first instalment of ₹ 2,000. The next disbursal of ₹ 2,000 shall take place as and when the government rolls it out.
Q: What is the status of oxygen availability in the district ?
A: We have sufficient stock of oxygen. Private hospitals have enough numbers. The oxygen beds in GRH were not fully occupied.
Q: Have you increased the bed strength in COVID-19 care centres in peripheries?
A: Yes. From 600 in the initial stage, the number of bed strength had almost doubled. The recently opened CCC at Thoppur has oxygen facilities as well.