Hundreds of protesters participating in the ‘farmer protests’ at Singhu Border could be infected with the Wuhan Coronavirus, India Today has reported. They are sick but they have refused to take the test for the virus. Authorities are worried that there might be many asymptomatic carries present at these protests. The exact number of protesters that are sick is not known but unofficially, the number is pegged at 300.
Deputy Commissioner Sonipat, Shyam Lal Punia, said, “We have set up two Covid-19 counters at Singhu Border and are regularly screening the protesters. Ten teams of doctors and paramedical staff have been deployed. An average of 70 to 90 people are visiting us every day who have been diagnosed with fever, muscular pain, or increased blood pressure.”
“We are regularly monitoring the situation. The patients are not ready for the Covid-19 tests. We distributed 50,000 masks but they are neither following the social distancing nor wearing the masks. The senior citizens say Covid-19 is nothing,” he added.
Senior Medical Officer (Sonipat) Anvita Kaushik had said earlier, “Our district’s medical vans and teams have been deployed at Singhu border. They (protesters) are getting medicines from us for cough, fever and other health problems, but are are unwilling to undergo COVID-19 test.”
Bhartiya Kisan Union-Ekta Ugrahan Punjab general secretary Sukhdev Singh had said that farmers have gathered there to protest and not for Coronavirus testing. BKU-Ekta Ugrahan is the same group that was demanding the release of ‘Urban Naxals’ arrested in the Elgar Parishad case and Islamists accused in the Delhi Riots case.
As per the report, 20 critically ill protesters have been referred to hospitals. At the same time, five protesters at Bahadurgarh and one at Singhu Border have died. Their cause of death is not known. Authorities are worried due to the social distancing norms being flouted and masks not being worn. Furthermore, medicines are being distributed without prescriptions at Singhu and Tikkri borders by certain volunteers who have opened counters.
There is a significant section of protesters between 60 and 80 years of age with comorbidities, including high blood sugar, heart diseases, high blood pressure and asthma. They are in the highest risk category. The government has appealed for them to return to their homes but the protesters are refusing to relent. Earlier, two police officers posted at protest site near Singhu Border had tested positive for the virus.