The Sadar Hospital in Bihar’s Siwan district has come under fire after a woman was left unattended for hours outside the emergency ward on Sunday. The matter came to light after a Twitter user posted pictures of the woman lying on the floor while it rained incessantly. Siwan also happens to be state Health Minister Mangal Pandey’s hometown.

While the hospital authorities have not come on record with any statement, the social media user who first posted a video of the incident said that authorities feared that the woman was Covid-19 positive. The Twitter user, Shiblee, was told that the woman was alone. “I told the hospital that if no one helps her, she will die,” read the tweet. “So they said what can we do.”

Civil surgeon Yaduvansh Sharma, however, said that the woman was not a coronavirus patient, reported Aaj Tak. Later, reports said the woman was admitted to the hospital and her treatment was underway.

CM promises more coronavirus tests amid criticism

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday said the state government was trying to scale up testing. “We are trying to take per day testing to 20,000,” he said. “We are also opening more dedicated Covid care centres besides increasing number of beds with oxygen cylinders. We have also started several antigen testing centres including 25 at Patna.”

Kumar’s comments came at a time when the state government is facing severe criticism from the Opposition as well as its own allies.

Bihar Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav has alleged that the state’s increased positivity rate was the highest in the country and indicated that enough tests were not being carried out. “Bihar is sitting on the tip of iceberg but our narcissist 15 yrs Nitish govt is busy in electioneering,” Yadav said. He added that no lockdown or stricter restrictions would make sense if testing was not increased.

Yadav claimed Bihar was on its way to becoming “a global hotspot” of the pandemic. He also accused the state government of fudging data.

On Sunday, Yadav’s father and jailed Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad also sounded an alarm. “The situation is pitiful, anarchic and explosive,” he tweeted. “The health system has collapsed…the government has to become a falcon in containing the virus but the JD(U) leaders have become vultures by organising virtual rallies …Nitish Kumar has not come out of his residence even for four times in the last four months.”

An ally of the ruling National Democratic Alliance also called the coronavirus situation in the state explosive. “The spiralling number might soon lead to an explosive situation and has become a matter of concern for the people,” Lok Janshakti Party President Chirag Paswan tweeted. “In view of the circumstances, the Central government has decided to send the team so that the situation can be brought under control.”

Central team visits state

A three-member Central team on Sunday visited Bihar to assess the Covid-19 situation. The team of Dr SK Singh from the National Centre for Disease Control and Dr Niraj Nischal from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, was led by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare department Joint Secretary Luv Agrawal. The team will return to Delhi on Monday evening.

Bihar is under a renewed lockdown till July 31 amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Patna, Bhagalpur and Begusarai are the worst-hit districts in the state. The state has reported over 16,000 cases since July 1 when its overall tally stood at 10,205. For the last one week, nearly 1,000 cases are being reported in Bihar on a daily basis. More than 89 containment zones have been created in Patna alone to prevent the spread of the infection.

As of Monday, Bihar’s total coronavirus count is 26,569 including 217 deaths. The state government has asked all private hospitals in Patna to treat Covid-19 patients and reserve at least 25% of its beds for such patients.

“We are in talks with the government regarding taking up Covid cases,” Paras HMRI hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Asif Rahman told The Indian Express. He, however, added that they have not yet discussed if there would be a cap on charges of isolation beds in private hospitals.

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