BHOPAL: As the state was caught in a political storm that flattened the Congress government last month, the officials could not brace up to contend with the threat posed by Covid-19.
Some of the Congress legislators began to rebel against the party from the beginning of March.
Since former MP Jyotiraditya Scindia announced on March 10 that he would quit the Congress and since the legislators belonging to his faction resigned, the Congress government fell.
The entire month was wasted because of the political crisis. Preparations to meet the threat posed by Covid-19 could not be made.
Kamal Nath remained chief minister till March 20. After putting in his papers to the Governor, he was the acting chief minister till March 23.
Former health minister Tulsi Silawat rebelled against the party and made a flight to Bengaluru on March 9 and resigned from the party on March 11.
Tarun Bhanot was made health minister instead of Silawat. It was because of the political crisis that the state could not prepare to fight against the virus.
Since the government was in turmoil, the officials did not pay attention to bracing up for the disease.
Orders were not placed for buying testing kits, PPE kit, masks and other equipment.
Once the new government took over, and Iqbal Singh Bains became the chief secretary, orders for all those items were placed.
Even the government hospitals did not make any preparations to deal with the disease. Besides, the health department did not discuss the issue with private hospitals.
The health department, however, woke up on March 20 when the first corona positive case was reported from Jabalpur.
Orders for buying equipment were placed last week. Likewise, laboratories for testing corona suspects and ICU beds have set up and ventilators arranged, only after the number of patients increased.
It is because of the delay that the state has only 5,000 testing kits, 16,000 PPE kits and 74,000 N-95 masks. The quantity of those items is not enough.
Since the doctors do not have necessary equipment in enough quantity, they are facing problems to fight the virus.
An officer who did not want to be named said that the political crisis in the state hit the preparations for tackling the virus.
While the other states have already had the equipment necessary to tackling the virus, MP is now placing orders for it, he said.
If the number of patients increases, it will be a major problem for the state, he said.