Large number of COVID cases being reported from rural areas: LS Speaker Om Birla

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Kota, May 14 (PTI) In the first COVID-19 wave mostly urban areas were affected, but this time a large number of cases are being reported from rural areas and some villages have registered over 25 per cent positivity rate, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Friday.

He also called for establishing a healthcare network at the village level so that a person suffering from the coronavirus disease can be provided adequate medical care near his house.

'It is a catastrophic situation that asks us to stay alert and cautious as the slightest of carelessness is likely to result into a cause of great trouble,' Birla told people of his Kota-Bundi constituency in Rajasthan during an interaction through video conferencing.

The speaker called upon the people of rural areas to constitute a three to five member 'Corona warrior squad' at the ward level to run awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of the infection and also help COVID-19 patients with medicines and medical assistance.

'Mostly urban areas were affected by the first wave of COVID-19 infection but it is a matter of concern that a large number of COVID-19 patients are being reported from rural areas this time, and some villages have even registered more than 25 per cent infection rate,' Birla said.

He also said that collective efforts are required to fight the COVID-19 pandemice and break the transmission chain of the virus.

During the video conference, people of rural areas in Bundi district apprised Birla about the unavailability COVID-19 testing facilities and delay of four days in getting test reports.

He assured the people that he would speak to the state government on the issue and try getting rapid antigen testing done to ensure timely delivery of reports.

In Bundi district, Manbharbai Gurjar, nearly 90 years old, as Uleda sarpanch has been regularly visiting areas under her jurisdiction to ensure sanitisation and that people follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

She has been engaged in COVID-19 prevention activities in Uleda, Seeta, Seenti, Khunetiya and Gopalpura villages for the last three days, and this has motivated locals and staff, Uleda panchyat assistant Sangeeta Sharma said.

Gram Panchyat Uleda with a population of around 1,545 in 225 houses reported two COVID positive cases a fortnight ago and after treatment, their report is now negative, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), Uleda, Renu Nama said.

However, a few people are suffering from mild cold and cough and they have been provided the government's COVID-19 kit, she said. The burden of patients, after urban areas, has constantly been on the rise in hospitals in semi-urban and rural areas and the situation is regularly turning critical, Bundi district Congress vice president Charmesh Sharma said.

He said a large number of nurses and doctors are also falling prey to the infection.

The state government is converting community level hospitals into COVID Care centers but rising number of patients in rural area is still a challenge, said Sharma, who has been visiting district and community level hospitals to check preparedness, said.

Inspector General of Police (Kota range) Ravidutt Goar also visited villages in the Hindoli area of Bundi district on Thursday and took stock of compliance of COVID-19 guidelines. PTI CORR ANB ANB

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