Careless behaviour of people and complacency are leading to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh, which saw a 78 per cent rise in cases in the past two months, according to medical experts and government officials.
A senior official from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bhopal expressed concern over the governments fresh guidelines allowing political, social and religious congregations of up to 100 people from September 21.
Till Saturday, Madhya Pradesh reported 60,875 COVID-19 cases since the disease outbreak in the state on March 20.
An analysis of the government data shows that 47,282 of these total cases, or about 78 per cent, were reported in July and August.
These two months also reported 773 deaths, accounting for 57 per cent of the total 1,345 fatalities due to the disease so far in the state.
Talking to PTI, AIIMS, Bhopal, Director Prof Sarman Singh said "complacency among people" with regard to social distancing and other preventive norms, and the easing of restrictions are leading to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
"Across the world, the spurt in COVID-19 cases is due to complacency among people, who have started taking the situation lightly. The use of masks and social distancing norms are not being followed," he said.
He also said the government is going to relax the norms by allowing gathering of 100 people for religious, social and political functions, which is "worrying".
It has been seen that people are violating norms and more number of persons gather at a place than allowed,he said.
Singh said life can go on without political and social functions. "Only offices and economic activities should have been opened which is needed for livelihood...but I dont want to comment on what led to the relaxation of norms. I can say this was not medically desirable epidemically." This is the "second spurt" in Madhya Pradesh, which is performing better than other states as far as the control of COVID-19 is concerned, he said.
"The situation is not good, but under control. The situation has improved in Madhya Pradesh when compared to earlier," he said.
Madhya Pradesh health department's additional chief secretary Mohammed Suleman said the state government is focusing on raising awareness about the coronavirus as its containment depends on the people.
"The rising number of coronavirus cases shows people are meeting each other. The government is making people aware through various medium about social distancing and face covering," he said.
"Our concept is clear that we will treat those who reach out to us for treatment. Most of the people are recovering from the infection. The mortality rate is about two per cent," he said
It is clear that the government cannot protect people from infection. "Only the people can protect themselves and the government is treating those coming to us. We will continue to provide medical treatment to people," he said.
Dr Ajay Goenka, director of Chirayu Medical College and Hospital, one of the biggest private facilities designated for COVID-19 treatment in the state, blamed lack of awareness and laxity among people for the rising cases.
"The containment of coronavirus depends on public awareness. It can be contained only when people stop making mistakes," he said, adding that people are scared and hiding the disease.
People should follow the social distancing norms, wear face masks and come out for treatment in time to stem the spread of the pandemic, he said.