CHENNAI: Children whose parents had tested positive for COVID-19 but were negative when they died would also be considered for the Rs 5 lakh financial aid and education support scheme announced by Chief Minister MK Stalin, said Health Minister Ma Subramanian.
Addressing reporters at Tiruvottriyur in North Chennai, the minister said the children would be included in the scheme on compassionate grounds.
“The drive to identify the eligible children is underway,” the minister said.
This announcement by the minister came as a clarification to a question posted by a reporter who said many people who tested positive eventually died but the cause of death said it was not related to COVID-19 and as a result, they could not avail the benefits of the solatium or insurance.
The minister responded that the guidelines for reporting COVID-19 deaths were formulated by the Indian Council of Medical Research and sometimes patients die due to many comorbid factors and not because of the virus itself.
“If people get admitted early, we can treat them. If they come late, the infection progresses and they die due to other complications not necessarily due to the virus,” the minister said. However, he added that he would convey to the Centre the concerns of people losing out on benefits due to how the deaths were reported.
He also pointed to the instance of MP Vasanthakumar and renowned singer SP Balasubrahmanyam who tested positive for COVID-19 but were negative during their deaths.
Meanwhile, the minister, in another press meet at Royapettah Government Hospital, said that oxygen generators with a capacity to produce 1000 litres of oxygen in a minute will be set up by Larsen and Toubro in five localities of Tamil Nadu.
“The first one has been set up at the Royapettah GH at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crores. The rest will come in other districts,” he said.
The minister also said that the government has created 70,000 oxygen beds for COVID-19 patients and the infrastructure will not be removed even after the second wave flattens fully.
“We won’t remove the infrastructure and it will be ready for the third wave, if it comes,” he said.
The minister also added that exclusive COVID-19 wards for children are being opened in all the tertiary government hospitals, as part of preparations for the coming days.
“AIIMS doctors have said there is no proof that children will be affected by the third wave but still we are keeping the infrastructure ready,” he said.
He said that so far, 1237 people have been infected by black fungus and are getting treatment.
The minister also said that the vaccination drive will continue in the state and there won’t be a shortage. “We now have 71,000 doses left. Another 6.16 lakh doses are expected to arrive today and within five to ten hours of arrival, it will be distributed to all districts and the drive will continue,” he said.
During the press meets, the MLAs of Madhavaram, Tiruvottriyur and Chepauk-Triuvallikeni were present.