BENGALURU: With the H1N1 death toll rising, even patients with mild cough-and-cold symptoms are panicking and seeking medicines for swine flu.
Many patients and their families are calling government helplines, and scrambling to pharmacies, demanding Tamiflu tablets, used to treat the H1N1 influenza. However, health officials say the tablets are given only to those with doctors’ prescriptions.
According to a report from the Directorate of Health, Karnataka has 372 positive cases as on Tuesday. BBMP and Bengaluru Urban district top the list of deaths and positive cases.
In BBMP-administered areas, 180 cases have been confirmed positive and nine people have died. In Bengaluru Urban district, 97 have tested positive and six have died. A BBMP official said many people were walking up to pharmacies, assuming they could buy Tamiflu across the counter.
The tablet is available only at government and private hospitals. “Also, only those with H1N1 and its symptoms are administered the medicine,” the official said.
The official further said Nimhans and Manipal Hospital were flooded with people getting tests done.
“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) had already made it clear to the organisers that we will not be participating in the function as it was being organised just to give a platform for PM Modi,” an office bearer with CBCI told Express.
Though the function was initially planned to be jointly organised by CBCI and the Syro Malabar Church, the apex body opted out over differences with the invitation to Modi.
CBCI had issued a pastoral letter criticising Prime Minister Modi over the recent attack on churches, and it was read out in all the churches in 156 dioceses across the country recently.
The function was also attended by Cardinal George Alencherry, Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, Archbishop Anil Couto, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla, Deputy Chairman in the Rajya Sabha P J Kurien.
Speaking on the occasion, Jaitley said the attacks on churches in Delhi are “unacceptable aberrations”. He said the guilty will be brought to book and there is “no space” in India for such people. Kurien said the incidents of attacks are aberrations and will be dealt with seriously by the government. He recalled that Hindu rulers in Kerala had helped Christianity prosper in the state by offering them land for churches.
Archbishops Thazah and Couto hoped the government will take appropriate steps in this regard. Thazah said missionary schools have not focused on conversions but education. He said BJP veteran L K Advani and HRD Minister Smriti Irani are products of such institutions.