Having successfully dealt with the second wave of Covid-19 in the state, with the case graph showing a downward trend consistently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is already gearing up to tackle a possible third wave of the pandemic. A far-sighted leader, who always believes in making advance preparations to deal with any situation, he has issued instructions for special training of 1,114 doctors and 1,036 staff nurses, right from the level of community health centres to medical college hospitals, in paediatric care as experts believe that the pandemic’s third wave would affect children the most. Patnaik wants a well-trained workforce ready to tackle emergencies.
The Chief Minister, who has been reviewing the pandemic situation in the state regularly with senior bureaucrats, has asked officials to be fully prepared with hospital beds, medicines and equipment to tackle any emergency arising out of a possible new wave of Covid-19. The officials have been asked to begin advance preparations based on the recommendations of experts and also ramp up vaccination from the present 1.5 lakh people daily to three lakh.
The government already has 3,000 general beds, 2,390 isolation beds and 610 intensive care unit (ICU) beds ready to cope with any situation arising out of a third wave. Keeping all district collectors on the alert, it is also ready to launch a fourth sero survey in Ganjam, Koraput and Rayagada districts from the middle of this month, with focus on children. Besides, instructions have been issued for strict implementation of Covid guidelines as any laxity on this front could cost the state dearly, especially with festivals like Raja coming up.
Advance preparation has been the Chief Minister’s hallmark and it has always given him excellent results. If the state government was successful in containing the damage caused by recent cyclone Yaas and keeping the casualties to the minimum, it was mainly on account of the preparations it had made days ahead of the cyclone’s actual landfall. The same strategy has saved the state from many other natural calamities in the past.
Odisha, in fact, was the first state of the country to declare Covid-19 a “disaster” and make preparations accordingly when the first wave of the pandemic hit the country. Led by its five-time Chief Minister, the state government had sufficiently empowered its officials to deal with the situation by imposing restrictions on the movement of people even before the first corona-positive case was reported in Odisha. Patnaik also took steps to strengthen state’s health infrastructure and set up country’s first dedicated Covid hospitals in Odisha.
His excellent handling of the pandemic has won praise from people across the country. As he gears up the state administration to tackle a possible third wave of the pandemic, he has already set a benchmark in disaster management that others will find difficult to emulate.