BHOPAL: Twenty seven days after the first four cases of Coronavirus were reported in Jabalpur town of Madhya Pradesh, the total number of positive cases of the deadly virus breached the 1000 mark on Thursday.
With 226 fresh cases being reported on Thursday (maximum in one day) the total count of positive cases in the central Indian state touched 1164 mark by the evening.
According to the daily state bulletin released by the state health department on Thursday evening the state recorded 55 deaths, which was around 4.72% of all positive cases so far. As many as 65 persons had recovered from the infection and have been discharged from various hospitals in the state, the state bulletin added.
Indore remained the prime COVID-19 hotspot of the state reporting 163 fresh cases to touch 707 cases and also reported maximum 39 deaths so far, followed by state capital Bhopal with 196 cases and five deaths (29 new cases on Thursday), Khargone 39 cases and three deaths and Ujjain with 30 cases and six deaths so far.
In an alarming development, the communally sensitive Khandwa district reported third maximum 17 cases on Thursday and its overall positive case count read 33. Till date 26 districts of the 56 districts-strong have reported positive cases of the killer virus.
The flurry of fresh cases are now emerging from Malwa-Nimar region, which includes Indore, Khandwa, Ujjain, Dewas, Ratlam, Mandsaur, Dhar, Khargone and Barwani districts.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the state has been divided into three parts for controlling the spread of the deadly infection, including Part I which includes Indore, Ujjain and Bhopal. Directions have already been issued to totally seal all the three districts. The second part includes those districts which have reported relatively less number of cases compared to the three districts which are the COVID-19 hotspot districts and the third part includes those districts where no positive cases have been reported till now.
While admitting that the health department staff and Tablighi Jamaat were biggest contributors of the 196 cases in Bhopal, the CM said, “Before I assumed power on March 23, the health department staff had already started becoming positive for the COVID-19, due to which we had to even close the state health directorate to prevent further spike in cases. A probe has been ordered into entire matter of how health department became the biggest contributor to the positive cases in Bhopal,” said Chouhan.
As per reports, so far 80-plus positive patients out of the 196 total patients in Bhopal are health department staff, including four IAS officers, among them the Principal Secretary (Health) also. Besides, 40 cops and their kin form the next major bulk of cases in Bhopal followed by 20-odd Tablighi Jamaat followers.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP and senior lawyer Vivek Tankha termed the development of a large number of health department employees testing coronavirus positive as "gross negligence".
"The majority of persons infected by coronavirus (in Bhopal) are from the health department, which is nothing but an outcome of gross negligence of the officers of department in following the COVID-19 guidelines," he said.
Tankha also complained to the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) on the issue and also took strong objections to the reply given by the Bhopal collector on behalf of the chief secretary on the issue. "The chief secretary was given the notice by the MPHRC on the issue and he should have replied to it instead of directing the collector to do so," the senior lawyer said.