Holding the BJP government at the Centre responsible for the uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 during the second wave, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should immediately get Covaxin authorised by the World Health Organization (WHO) or else suggest a remedy for the recipients of the vaccine who are facing problems to travel abroad.
Terming the BJP as a "big disease for everyone", Banerjee said, "People took Covaxin on the suggestion of the Central government and now the latter should take the responsibility of the problems these people are facing. Students who are set to join foreign universities are in deep trouble as Covaxin is not authorised by the WHO yet. What should these students do now? They cannot take another vaccine as they have already taken Covaxin."
"They did not take Covaxin on their own and now the Centre cannot shy away from its responsibility. Either the Centre should immediately get Covaxin authenticated by the WHO, or else suggest a remedy to this problem. It is for the Government of India to take some initiative. Even Bangladesh and Brazil are facing problems. The problem needs to be sorted out immediately," Banerjee said at the state secretariat Nabanna after reviewing the overall Covid situation in the state.
When asked to respond to BJP chief J.P. Nadda's allegation that the opposition is doing politics over the vaccination drive, the Chief Minister said, "The BJP government is fully responsible for the second wave disaster as it did not taken enough measures to combat the wave. How can he say this now? Does he understand that it was because of their negligence that the situation deteriorated? They didn't allow people to take precaution before the second wave."
Banerjee also said that the state government will do everything possible to counter a possible third wave of the pandemic.
"As per experts, children might be the most affected lot in case a third wave breaks out, so we need to ensure the health of mothers so that they are able to keep their children safe. We are taking all the necessary measures to combat a possible third wave," she said.
The state government has planned have 1,300 paediatric ICUs, 350 SNCUs, and 10,000 general beds for paediatric and women patients in the government hospitals by July. Along with this, infrastructure has been planned to cater to the additional demand for oxygen, she said.
Asserting that the vaccination status in West Bengal is very good, Banerjee said that nearly two crore doses have already been administered to the people of the state, including 33 lakh jabs to the super-spreaders.
"We are administering three lakh doses per day and from tomorrow onwards, this figure will go up to four lakhs a day. We had demanded three crore vaccine doses from the Centre, but we did not receive them. Had we got the additional doses, we could have given one lakh doses to the private hospitals. We plan to inoculate 70 lakh more people by July," she sadi.
Banerjee also said that the bypolls should be held as the Covid situation is currently conducive in the state, adding that seven days would be enough for campaigning.