Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh Shukla joined NewsX for a conversation. When asked about the overall situation in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic in Uttar Pradesh, he said, “We are in full control of the situation as of now. On 21 February we came down to 77 cases, thereafter there has been an increase in the number of cases over the last two to three months. But we introduced several measures to control Covid-19 spread that includes imposing (curfew-like) lockdown while also ensuring that emergency measures and emergency services are available during this time. From imposing partial lockdown to increasing our testing, was done with the intent to control Covid-19 cases.”

Shukla exclaimed, “Today we have achieved testing of almost 3 lakh people a day, 2,99,000 tests were done yesterday. Out of almost 3 lakh tests, 1,24,000 are RTPCR tests while the rest include antigen and TrueNAT tests. So we have achieved the target of 3 lakh testing per day. Out of which I think almost 50-55% have been done in the villages as the infection has spread into the villages. So we had a special campaign which started on 5 to 17 May where we ensured that we had an RR team that went for home isolation checking and provided them with medicines.” WHO supported the Uttar Pradesh government in this campaign.

He further informed that the state government started ‘nigrani samiti’ in all gram panchayats as part of which Asha workers, Anganwadi workers, and some block officials went to every village identifying patients who had similar symptoms as Covid-19 like cough, cold and fever and other such symptoms. Shukla said, “Cases were identified and immediately they were given medicine packets for a week. At least 20 lakh medical kits were sent to every district. The kits have been distributed to all the supposedly Covid patients so that the fever and the infection come down immediately. But anybody who has a serious breathing problem and a high fever that person is sent to the nearest hospital where an RTPCR test is done to ensure if he/she has Covid. We start to line up a treatment where oxygen cylinder, ventilator, medicines like the Remdesivir and injections are available. So the focus, since 5 May, has been on fighting Covid-19 at the village level and we are doing a lot of work for the same. We have covered a huge population, around 97,000 gram panchayats. Due to that we have managed to control Covid-19 spread and imposed partial lockdown but with essential services open and some groceries shops open for certain timing in the morning.”

“Almost one and a half month graph has come down quite a bit as we only have 56,725 patients per day as of today. We had gone up to 4 lakh active patients, it has come down to 1,16,434 active patients so that is how we have tried to control it,” he added.

When asked about vaccination drive he replied, “We started the vaccination drive on 16 January and firstly vaccination was given to the healthcare workers and frontline workers, then 60 yrs above people and then 45 yrs plus. From 1 May, we started giving the vaccine to 18 to 45 yrs age groups. Overall, we have done as much as vaccines we were given. Up to the time of vaccination for 45 yrs and above we started doing a good amount of vaccination in the entire state and as far as the 18-45 yrs age group is concerned, we had to buy out the vaccine from the two companies who were manufacturing it. So from whatever supply they could give us, we have managed to start it in 23 districts and have covered about 5 lakh people so far. Overall, the vaccination is going quite well as long as we get the supply in time.”

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