PACHU MENON, Margao
While the worsening mortality rate in the state due to the dreaded coronavirus pandemic should have been a cause of concern for the government, the manner in which Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has sought to get away with allegations of mismanagement in the whole process of containing the spread of the disease by attributing the spate of deaths to the co-morbidity conditions of the deceased is quite shocking. It is as if the state officials want to hold on to the contention that most people with pre-existing and underlying conditions could be at a higher risk if they contract the coronavirus while seeking to explain reports of the alarming sequence of COVID fatalities in the region. The Chief Minister, without an iota of doubt, has been an epitome of indecisiveness, spearheading the state’s combat against the virulent villain. Nor have his assurances on things being well under control in the state with regard to the pandemic encouraged confidence among the locals. Exuding self-confidence, the Chief Minister had earlier stated that the state government was well-equipped to handle the pandemic crisis and there was no reason for Goans to panic. But much water has flowed under the bridge since then, and today great anomalies in the government’s treatment of the pandemic situation have pushed the state to the brink of an inevitable disaster. While there was always a need to involve the private players in the health sector in the state to curb the viral monstrosity, it was believed all along that the Directorate of Health Services was by itself a competent authority to tackle the menace of the virus in the state. However, the manner in which the government has bulldozed its decision to have the private hospitals in the state to mandatorily reserve 20 per cent ICU beds for COVID patients or face cancellation of their licences if directives are not complied with is definitely in bad taste. The infrastructure and logistic nightmares they will have to face in this case makes it an arduous task for the private sector hospitals. While the Chief Minister has been so clear that co-morbidity conditions are causing COVID deaths, how prudent is it to treat patients with life-threatening diseases alongside coronavirus infected persons!