Amidst the rising cases of Coronavirus in India’s capital city, a case of administrative negligence on the part of Arvind Kejriwal-led-Delhi Government has come to light. On Thursday, Varun Vats, a resident of Rohini, took to Facebook to narrate his harrowing tale of the struggle to get tested for the Wuhan Coronavirus in Delhi.
After coming in contact with his cousin who was diagnosed with the Coronavirus on June 1, Varun decided to get tested for the deadly pathogen. He had exhibited symptoms of Coronavirus including fever, cough, cold, and headache. He updated his status report on the Aarogya Setu app, but he received non-functional links of accredited laboratories. After that Varun dialled the Central Government Helpline, but he was asked to contact the Delhi Government helpline number instead. Following multiple failed attempts, he was asked to visit a nearby hospital, Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, in Rohini (West), Delhi.
No Coronavirus Testing between June 2-3
Varun visited the said hospital on June 2 at 12:30 pm, but was as asked to wait till 3 pm. When his turn finally came after 1.5 hours from the scheduled time, the doctor informed him that no tests would be conducted between June 2-3. As such, he was given an appointment for June 4. When he reached Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital on the due date, he came across other people whose samples were not being collected by the hospital. The receptionist remarked, “Abhi test nahi ho rate. Upar see permission nahin aaya (We are not conducting any tests as of now. We don’t been granted permission to do so by higher authorities.)”
Varun then called the same Delhi Government’s Coronavirus Helpline number. He was told that testing was not being done at the said hospital and asked him to visit Maharaja Agrasen Bhavan in Rohini (Sector-5) with a valid prescription. On being provided the address, he rushed to the newly assigned hospital. Two watchmen stopped him at the gate and enquired about the purpose of his visit. One of them sighed, “Bhai yahan nahin ho rahe test, kit khatam ho gayi (Tests are not being conducted here. No kits are available).” When Varun informed the duo that he was referred by the State Helpline, they remarked, “Hum kya kar sakte hain, jo hai aapke saamne hai”. (What can we do? Whatever it is, it’s not hidden from anyone).”
Private labs whipped by Delhi Government
Disappointed by the plight at government-run hospitals, Varun was forced to reach out to private laboratories. However, his request to get tested was turned down again. “Cases are rising drastically in the State. We are running short of testing kits. Please inquire after 2-3 days,” Varun was told. His symptoms had aggravated by then. Down with severe cough and weakness, he called up a reputed private laboratory, Lal Path Labs. He was informed that the Government had instructed them to not conduct tests for 2-3 days. Varun tried reaching out to other private firms but his request and medical necessity fell on deaf ears.
Accuses Delhi Government of Coverup
Failed by the Delhi Government, he decided to self-quarantine, amidst high fever and aggravated symptoms of cough, headache, and weakness. Varun wrote, “Who will be responsible if somebody like me goes on an unintentional virus spread and spreads it to people at risk, and older people like my parents at my home? Who will be responsible if somebody like me is critical but doesn’t have co-morbidities that the Government is talking about? Forget about Hospital Beds, we don’t even have the testing infrastructure.”
He added that his financial condition motivated him to contact private laboratories, something which may be a far-fetched dream for the impoverished section of the society. He asked, “Who will test them (the poor), treat, and care about them? No testing means no new cases. This is how our beloved CM Arvind Kejriwal wants to decrease the number of Coronavirus cases in Delhi.” Varun highlighted that the outbreak of the pandemic in Delhi was becoming as worse as in Mumbai with 1200 cases recorded in a day.
After his post went viral on social media, he received a call from Central Helpline which assured him of testing. Varun had been contacted by Mr. Rajesh Verma, Mr. Zaheer, and Mr. Sourabh Gupta who are associated with the Delhi Government. He was eventually tested and is waiting for the results for Wuhan Coronavirus.