Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 31
Last year, Covid snuffed out almost one life every hour in Punjab. This haunting figure defines state’s struggle during the pandemic of 2020.
Amid crumbling tertiary healthcare system and highly privatised primary healthcare, the state’s Health Department was still trying to figure out how to fight the global pandemic when the first case was reported on March 5.
In this context, imposing lockdown was the only option the government had to deal with the situation. Soon, curfew followed. These two measures paralysed the state. Subsequently, endless rows of migrant workers were seen marching back to their native states.
The state did try to send them home with dignity on Sharamik trains, but the long march of migrants reminded people of the Partition, which is still etched in the minds of the citizens of this region.
Since March 5, 5,350 persons have died due to the virus. The number of cases has crossed 1.65 lakh.
The crumbling healthcare system and the hefty fee of private hospitals left people with no option, but to stay at home. This mistrust led to rumours that doctors were harvesting organs from the bodies of patients succumbing to Covid.
The virus not only took away lives, but also left deep scars on society — the march of workers from Punjab, the hostility witnessed at the cremation of “hazoori ragi” Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa and private hospitals shutting shops.
Things to look forward to
- Smooth rollout of Covid vaccine is government’s focus
- Strengthening of government’s tertiary healthcare system
- Rebuilding the trust of masses in public healthcare system
- Regulating big private hospitals, which charge hefty fee
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