COVID-19: First case in Jharkhand

Patient is a Malaysian woman

By Anand Dutt
Published: Wednesday 01 April 2020

Jharkhand reported its first novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) positive case on April 1, 2020. A Malaysian woman who came to India to attend the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi in March was found infected. 

She was admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi. Another 15 persons suspected to be infected were also reportedly admitted to the hospital's quarantine centre.

The case has highlighted the state’s lack of preparedness in dealing with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). By March 30, only 271 suspected cases were tested, a source said. In fact, tests have been conducted only on samples collected from 13 of the state’s 24 districts.

In 11 districts, the testing process is yet to start. Only two hospitals — RIMS and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Jamshedpur — can test for the virus.  Fourteen districts of Jharkhand do not even have an intensive care unit.

About 78,000 people have returned to the state after the national lockdown was announced on March 22. Of these, 45,000 have been screened and the government is tracking all of them, said the state’s health minister Banna Gupta recently.

If there is a need for isolation, there are just 567 beds available in hospitals across the state — 96 in the medical colleges, 200 in district hospitals and 271 in private hospitals. The number of patients that can be admitted to the quarantine centre is also just 1,469 and the number of testing kits available is just 1,000. The government has ordered another 20,000 kits

Though people have returned to the state in large numbers, thousands are waiting to return. Randhir Singh, member of the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly from Sarath constituency in Deogarh district, says that 10,000 people from his constituency are stuck in various states of the country.

In a press release on March 28, the government said that 3,000 Jharkhand domiciles are in Gujarat; 2,250 in Tamil Nadu; 2,944 in Kerala; 532 in Andhra Pradesh; 550 in West Bengal; 138 in Madhya Pradesh; 1,500 in Delhi; 1,500 in Chhattisgarh; 740 in Maharashtra; 479 in Punjab and thousands in Uttar Pradesh. In an earlier press release on March 27, the Jharkhand government had asked its people to stay wherever they are and had appealed to all state governments to take care of them. 

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