The Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is under scanner after a video of patients at a quarantine facility in Agra scrambling and squatting behind locked gates started doing the rounds. The clip shows the inmates desperately trying to grab bottles of water and packets of biscuits thrown at them.
The video clip, which is being widely circulated on social media, was shot at the Hindustan College in Agra that has been taken over by the district administration and converted into a quarantine facility, according to The Indian Express. The woman who shot the video clip can be heard saying that she was brought to the centre for a check-up, which wasn’t done.
In the clip, a man wearing protective gear can be seen throwing biscuit packets close to the bolted gate of the facility as people from the other side stretch their hands to try and catch them. People are seen poking their hands out of the iron grill to grab hold of mineral bottles kept near the gate. The patients can be seen jostling each other as they gather near the gate ignoring all norms of social distancing. The video also shows cups of tea laid out on a table behind the closed gate of the quarantine facility.
Agra District Magistrate Prabhu Narain Singh confirmed the incident, claiming it happened a few days ago and that “everything is fine” now. “I went and inspected the spot,” he told NDTV. “Everything has been set right. Whatever gaps were there, I have asked a senior official to investigate and fix responsibility. The team has been asked to ensure such complaints do not come again.”
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar told The Indian Express that those staying in the quarantine centre had become “somewhat restless” as there had been a “slight delay” in the distribution of food. “There was a gap of about four hours, and [in this time] they did all this,” Singh told the newspaper.
Agra has reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh. The district authorities have been praised by the Centre for their efforts at containment or the “Agra model”.
However, on April 21, Agra Mayor Naveen Jain had written to Chief Minister Adityanath, requesting him to “Save Agra”.
“I am writing this letter with a very sad mind that my Agra is going through a phase of excessive problems,” Jain said. “The need is to take bold decision to save Agra, where the situation has become very serious. Hence, with folded hands, I am praying you to please save my Agra, please save it.”
In India, the total number of coronavirus cases reached 27,892 on Monday morning and the toll rose to 872.