SRINAGAR: Over one year of the fight against Covid-19, people’s attitude towards the disease have changed to some extent but the government’s response at various levels remains the same.
For instance, the testing facilities, which last year were not in place for months together. In the middle of the first wave, they were limited to just a few hundred across J&K. Today, when the cases are double than last year’s, the number is the same.
JLNM, a Covid-19 dedicated hospital, until two weeks ago was doing less than 50 Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) a day. Dr Bilquees Shah, the Covid in-charge at the hospital, told Kashmir Reader that the hospital does more than 200 tests a day now.
Ali Muhammad Wagay, a resident of Rainawari, told Kashmir Reader that he visited the hospital for two days to get tested for Covid but was told that the hospital had exhausted all the testing kits.
Wagay had been in contact with a Covid-positive patient, but he still remains untested. He went to the TRC and Batamaloo dispensary to get tested after he found a long queue at JLNM hospital on the third day he went there.
“I found the same at the TRC and at the dispensary,” he said. “I went back to JLNM to check if I could get tested. It was to no avail.”
Dr Bilquees Shah said that they cannot increase the capacity for tests at the hospital because of limited staff. “We are a Covid hospital and our focus is on curing the disease. People can move to other places for tests if they cannot get it done at JLNM,” she said.
The government has handled the vaccination drive the same way. Against the earlier trend of people not coming for vaccines, people have voluntarily chosen to get vaccinated this time, but vaccines are unavailable.
A senior official told Kashmir Reader that there is acute shortage of vaccines in Kashmir. While in the initial days over seven lakh doses of vaccines were received, Kashmir now gets just 50,000 doses, the official said.
“That is why there is a shortage. As of now we have very limited stock of vaccines, especially in Srinagar,” he added.
On Sunday, a number of vaccination centres in Srinagar displayed messages that vaccines were unavailable.
Dr Mushtaq Rather, Director of Health, Kashmir, did not respond to calls from this newspaper. Commissioner Secretary Health, Atul Dulloo, also did not respond to calls.