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West Bengal government revokes the requirement of prior approval from govt committee before Coronavirus testing and treatment

BJP's Amit Malviya admonishes Mamata Banerjee's previous diktat, requiring doctors to take government approval before testing an individual for Covid-19.

The Mamata Banerjee government has finally allowed testing and treatment for coronavirus without prior approval from the government. The West Bengal government issued a fresh advisory Thursday, through which it clarified that government’s prior approval is no longer a pre-requisite for admitting or treating any patient in any healthcare facility or for testing any individual for coronavirus as per ICMR’s testing protocol.

WB Govt’s advisory

BJP IT cell head, Amit Malviya took to Twitter to share the copy of the advisory issued by the Health and Family Welfare Department of the Government of West Bengal, dated April 30, 2020, signed by Principal Secretary of the department, Vivek Kumar, in which the Mamata Banerjee government issues guidelines to all the hospitals and healthcare facilities of the state. It clarifies that “no government approval is required for either admitting or treating any patient in any healthcare facility or for testing any individual for coronavirus as per ICMR’s Testing Protocols.

BJP had admonished Mamata Banerjee’s previous diktat, requiring doctors to take approval from a government-appointed committee before testing an individual for Covid-19. Amit Malviya said that the West Bengal had to pay a heavy price and lose many lives due to the callous approach of Mamata Banerjee and her government in tackling the crisis in the state and applauded the central government for creating a constant pressure the WB government, because of which the chief minister was compelled to reverse her decision, though almost after wasting 38 days of the lockdown.

Doctors complained govt permission mandatory for testing Covid-19 patients

Speaking about Mamata Banerjee apathy and callousness in tackling the pandemic in the state, many doctors had previously complained that the state authorities’ approval is needed for each test, and is regularly refused. As a result, patients suspected to be suffering from coronavirus are not being isolated soon enough.

“If you suspect coronavirus and send the samples, they are routinely refused, there are times when the report returns after five days,” said Dr Arjun Dasgupta from the West Bengal Doctors Forum, which represents 19,000 doctors.

The services in at least four major government hospitals and two private facilities in Kolkata have been hit after doctors and nurses came into contact with patients who later tested positive. The doctors are unanimous that coronavirus deaths are not being fully reported, with only a state-appointed committee allowed to declare if a patient has died from coronavirus.

Read- Coronavirus handling: A chronology of mismanagement and cover-ups by the West Bengal government

West Bengal was also following a completely different approach towards documenting Coronavirus deaths in the state compared to the rest of the world. The state govt has decided that if a Coronavirus patient have other illness and if such a patient dies, the death will not be recorded as Coronavirus related death. Even the cause of the death of patients are also being determined by the committee, and not by the doctors. As most Coronavirus patients die due to complications like organ failure, the committee was recording such deaths as non-coronavirus deaths. But later the state was forced to record those deaths as Coronavirus deaths after the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) of the union government objected to it.

Doctors had also claimed that some of the whistleblowers were reprimanded by police for warning others about the current crisis in Kolkata. Many were forced to delete their posts, doctors had revealed.

West Bengal sitting on a “time-bomb”

The suppression of facts and fudging of data has become a major worry for authorities and health experts in West Bengal, which has now snowballed into a huge controversy between the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government and health-care experts.

The health-care experts believe that the situation in Bengal is very grave as the Mamata Banerjee-led government has not been giving real data to assess the actual seriousness of the pandemic. From threats to doctors for whistleblowing against the state government against lack of facilities to allegations of state government illegally disposing of dead bodies, there have been serious allegations against the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal.

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