While the news cycle gets consumed by the Sushant Singh Rajput case, the arrival of Rafale jets, and the Ram Mandir Bhumi Pujan, coronavirus cases in India have crossed the 1.8 million mark with the death toll nearing 40,000. While the virus was earlier restricted to ordinary people who had to venture out for livelihood, as the cases go up, even Bollywood celebrities and politicians are not immune. On Sunday evening, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took to Twitter to announce that he had contracted Covid-19. Stating that his health was fine, he asked those who had come in contact with him over the last few days to get themselves isolated and tested.
The 55-year-old politician got himself tested after showing symptoms. Amit Shah has been hospitalised at Medanta hospital in Gurugram, one of India’s best and costliest private hospitals. Later in the same evening, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyrappa announced on Twitter that he had tested positive for coronavirus and has been admitted to Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru, where doctors at the private facility said his condition is clinically stable and that he will be monitored closely.
On the same day, multiple administrators tested positive for coronavirus across states. Several ministers from the centre as well as state governments have contracted the disease over the past few months. Most of them were treated and continue to be admitted in private hospitals instead of public ones, which has drawn some sharp criticism from social media. Amid general public being admitted to government hospitals, the clamour is growing more louder “Why should our honorable home minister Amit Shah bhai be taken to a private hospital for #Covid_19 treatment rather than a government facility? If ministers and governments don’t trust and promote public hospitals, who will?”
Politicians heading to private hospitals is proof of admission from the government that it doesn’t run great public healthcare. When the average person falls sick, he has to head to a government-built facility since he can’t afford the steep costs at private institutions. Getting beds and medicines is also a major challenge with distributors running a black market business to make a quick buck. If anything, administrators should get themselves admitted to government facilities to get a first-hand experience of what it is like for the general population. It will also help them ascertain the gap in services between private and public healthcare. If they themselves don’t trust the facilities they have helped build, do they have a moral right to lecture others?
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