Chandigarh, Sep 5 (IANS) Moving aggressively to counter the propaganda launched in several villages against the state government’s Covid-19 containment and management strategy, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday asked his ministers and MLAs to liaise with the villagers on the ground to combat the negative campaign against Covid testing.
The Chief Minister alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was spreading senseless fear in the minds of the villagers, thus deterring them from getting themselves tested for coronavirus and endangering their lives.
He also said that his government would seek advice from the Government of India about the web channels that have mushroomed recently and are actively involved in spreading misinformation about the pandemic.
Action will be take action against them, he said.
The Chief Minister was presiding over a high-level virtual meeting attended by several Cabinet ministers and MLAs representing some of the constituencies where the gram panchayats have purportedly passed resolutions against the state government’s Covid management programme.
Amarinder Singh shall hold more rounds of similar meetings next week.
The Chief Minister said that AAP has been promoting ‘no testing’ campaign and an activist of the party has also been arrested for spreading false information on Covid testing and treatment.
Terming AAP’s announcement of distributing oxymeters as a political stunt, Amarinder Singh said that oxymeters had no connection with testing, and delay in the latter was the main reason for the state’s growing fatality rate.
Given the pathetic Covid situation in Delhi, where AAP is in power, their pretension of being concerned about the people of Punjab is ridiculous, he said.
Stressing that oxymeters were no substitute for testing, the Chief Minister said that blood oxygen levels can fall very fast, so the only key to saving lives is early testing and diagnosis.
He pointed out that 85 per cent of all the infected patients recover, as long as they get themselves tested in time.
Of the remaining 15 per cent who have complications, only 5 per cent need ICU or oxygen support, he said, adding that oxymeters were being unnecessarily and wrongly hyped by AAP in a bid to mislead the people.
In a brief presentation, Health Secretary Hussan Lal said the vicious campaign to discredit the government’s efforts has impacted testing, which has gone down.
With patients reporting late in tertiary care institutions, the number of deaths there had gone up, he said.
The Secretary said the department was being liberal on home isolation to mitigate the fear of the patients and encourage people to get themselves tested.