Goa Cong hits out at BJP govt in State on coronavirus preparedness

Panaji (Goa) [India], Mar 15 (ANI): The Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) has hit out at Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led government in the State on its preparedness in handling coronavirus disease and blamed it for not being able to set up even a testing lab.

Accusing the government of only giving statements and promises for the last two months, State Congress unit president Girish Chodankar questioned Sawant and health minister Vishwajit Rane, saying, "Where are we supposed to go and test ourselves if we feel we have symptoms that can lead to being tested positive for coronavirus."

"None of the doctors in Goa are aware of where to send patients for a test in Goa to check if one is suffering from coronavirus. They send samples somewhere, nobody knows and get the report in days. Does the government of the day feel that Goa doesn't need a testing lab as yet even after preparing for two months?," questioned Girish.

He further said, "The Department of Health Research, Indian Council of Medical Research under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, has recently declared a list of 51 national laboratories testing for COVID-19 and 56 additional collection labs across India but Goa couldn't find a single mention."

"If China can build a hospital and get it off the ground in 10 days, why can't our government start a laboratory in two months to check patients who are suffering from coronavirus symptoms?" he asked.

"The people of Goa have not yet got a formal testing lab that was promised two years back. What will it take for our government to tackle this disease seriously?" he questioned.

The Congress leader went on to question Sawant and Rane if enough protective measures are being taken to protect hospital staff, government staff and the public at large.

"What protective measures have been taken to protect doctors, nurses and other hospital and health centre staff who are the first point of contact with patients? And the other government staff who come in contact with thousands of people daily? Has the government, sanctioned the distribution of free protective gear including 3 ply masks and gloves? Has the government arranged dedicated ambulances to handle suspected patients?" he said.

The Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) also accused the State government of corruption after the government invoked the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897.

Girish said, "The only thing left for Rane to do is indulge in corrupt emergency purchases."

"The intention of the health minister is very clear, he wants to indulge in emergency purchases. If a health minister can indulge in the corruption of Rs 30-40 crore on medicine purchases under the emergency purchases clause during a non-emergency period, imagine the corruption he will indulge in during this emergency period," he alleged. (ANI)