Cong leader accuses govt of failing to tackle COVID pandemic, calls situation 'worrisome'

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Jammu, Apr 17 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Congress vice president Raman Bhalla on Saturday termed the COVID-19 situation in the union territory as 'worrisome' and claimed that the government has run out of options as it has failed to tackle the pandemic.

The Congress leader demanded massive testing, tracing of contacts of COVID-19 cases and their isolation to check the spread of the infection.

'The rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths due to the deadly virus in J-K is worrisome. The Jammu and Kashmir government has run out of options and has failed to tackle the pandemic,' Bhalla said, addressing a party workers meeting here.

The former minister said the infection is growing exponentially in Jammu and Kashmir and there seems to be no plan with the government to tackle the threat.

'The policies to tackle the pandemic and their implementation only underline the mess created by the government, which utterly failed to utilise the lockdown period to expand the infrastructure of the public health system, ensuring adequate medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies.

'The government should have strengthened the public health system on a war-footing basis during the lockdown period (last year), but unfortunately its priorities laid somewhere else. All these point to the all-round failure of the government in tackling the pandemic,' Bhalla said.

He said it looks as if the government has run out of options and is reconciled to the pandemic running its course.

'There is an urgent need for massive testing, tracing and isolating cases on a large-scale in a systematic way. The government must rely on health experts and epidemiologists to formulate policies with regard to testing, contact tracing and isolation of people affected by the virus,' he said.

Bhalla said the policies to tackle COVID-19 are being formulated by the bureaucrats that has proved a 'disaster'.

The Congress leader said the COVID-19 pandemic is at a 'dangerous stage' and until an effective mechanism is developed it will be a long and hard battle.

'The government should increase beds with high-flow oxygen in hospitals at the earliest. The government must also purchase more ventilators to augment the capacity of hospitals and increase the strength of doctors and paramedical staff,' he said. PTI TAS KJ