Even as 926 people have perished to swine flu and over 16,000 are affected, government on Thursday asserted that it is “very serious” on combating the challenge and asked people not to panic but be alert as necessary arrangements are in place to deal with the situation.
Health Minister J P Nadda also termed the recent imposition of prohibitory orders disallowing gatherings in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat to prevent swine flu as a “precautionary” measure and a “strategy to control”.
“The government is very serious on the issue. It is taking all precautionary measures and trying to control it. We are doing whatever we can do to the best of our ability. . . . We are supporting the state government. H1N1 virus is very much in the environment. What we have to do is to take protective measures and not to get panicked,” Nadda said on the sidelines of an event.
Noting that all government hospitals are well equipped and adequate number of medical kits and vaccines is available, Nadda also rubbished reports of shortage of vaccines in different states and said due to wrong news, a panic situation had been created.
“There was wrong news reported that there is a lack of vaccines. That is why panic had been created. Our hospital systems are well managed. We have got isolation wards, plenty of medicines, trained doctors and personal protection equipments as well,” he said.
According to data from the Health Ministry till February 24 this year, the total number of deaths due to the disease has reached 926 while the number of affected persons in various states stood at 16,235.
Nadda said the virus has activated during the long winter period which is why so many cases have been reported. He said that due to the information, education and communication efforts of his Ministry, many cases have been detected and cured.
Asked about the imposition of Section 144 in Ahmedabad, he said, “”Great. That is a strategy to control. That is a precautionary measure which has been taken. But at the same time, when there is news that there is no medicine despite the fact that we have enough, this creates panic. So I have suggested not to get panicked. We have got every arrangement in place.”
Ahmedabad district collector had invoked the Criminal Procedure Code’s Section 144 here a few days back, prohibiting mass gatherings without prior permission in order to prevent swine flu.