Scaling up testing in villages to check COVID spread: Haryana Deputy CM

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Chandigarh, May 19 (PTI) The Haryana government has stepped up testing in rural areas to check COVID spread, with Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala on Wednesday saying the idea is to screen as many as possible after reports that despite showing symptoms some people were not getting themselves checked.

The Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) leader dismissed Opposition leaders' claims that there was under-reporting of COVID deaths in rural areas, saying there is no truth in this.

When asked what steps are being taken by the government to check COVID-19 spread in villages, Chautala, who also holds the Panchayats department portfolio, said during a news conference here that funds up to Rs 50,000 have been released to gram panchayats to set up isolation wards.

Besides, funds have also been released to buy necessary equipment like oximeters.

He said that recently when it was brought to his notice that there has been increase in COVID cases in Budha Khera village in Jind district, more than 500 people were screened.

As the second wave of the pandemic started, reports started coming from many other big villages about some people having reported symptoms like fever.

“In big villages timely detection did not happen as many people did not report after fever and other symptoms showed up, so proper testing could not take place in primary phase (when second wave started).

“However, now testing has been scaled up. All deputy commissioners have been given directions in this regard and Rapid Antigen Testing, RT-PCR tests are being done and testing capacity has also been increased,” he said, adding those who are found positive are moved to isolation wards.

Notably, recently there have been reports of unusually high number of deaths than average in many Haryana villages including Mundhal Khurd, Mundhal Kalan and Bapora in Bhiwani, Titoli and Madina in Rohtak as well as some deaths in few villages in Hisar district, with many of those who passed away showing COVID-like symptoms.

Over 30 people had died in village Bapora in Bhiwani over the past two weeks, its sarpanch Naresh Kumar had said recently.

Bapora is Union Minister V K Singh's ancestral village.

On being asked that Opposition leaders have claimed that COVID was also spreading its wings in his native Chautala village in Sirsa district, Dushyant Chautala said it is also a big village with population of over 20,000 and added sanitization has been carried out twice and special medical camps have been held to screen people.

“Take Sisai, Mokhra, Madina, Siswal, there is no village with population of more than 10,000 where there might not have been COVID spread,” he said and accused some Opposition leaders of spreading misinformation regarding vaccination.

“Some so called leaders spread misinformation about vaccination. I think such people also fuel the (infection) spread,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said five members each of the Health department and the Panchayat department will be on duty at the isolation centres in villages to supervise.

He said there were 6,136 Panchayats which have a population of less than 10,000 and 98 villages have more than 10,000 population.

To another question, he said the state government was stepping up anti-COVID vaccination drive in both urban and rural areas. PTI SUN VSD MA MA MA MA

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