COVID surge: In Varanasi, hospitals refuse test, BHU doesn’t respond to calls, helpline number not working

While multiple calls to Apex and Heritage hospitals went answered, Maxwell refused to collect samples for Covid-19 test. BHU emergency number was not functional

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

NH Political Bureau

As Covid deaths saw a steep rise in the last two days in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, hospitals – both private and government– have refused to admit new patients and conduct RT-PCR test.

In some cases, hospitals cited lack of infrastructure.

Some people told NH that they frantically called hospitals but either hospitals refused conducting Covid tests or their calls went unanswered.

Even government hospitals including BHU, which is one of the best equipped government hospitals in eastern Uttar Pradesh, did not respond to the calls.

To gauge the worsening situation in the city which PM vowed to convert into Kyoto (famous Japanese city), NH called three prominent private hospitals – Apex, Maxwell and Heritage – in the morning of April 17, inquiring about RT-PCR test and availability of beds for serious patients.

While multiple calls to Apex and Heritage hospital went answered, Maxwell refused to collect samples for Covid-19 test or admit Covid patients. When asked why, the staff at Maxwell said, “Currently, we are not taking samples as we do not have the required facility.”

Maxwell directed us to contact Heritage hospital for the admission and Covid-19 test. NH has learnt that Maxwell did conduct RT-PCR test till some time ago.

Some people claim that hospitals have been asked to not conduct the tests in order to keep the number of Covid-19 patients in the PM's constituency low. Even if that may not be true, it’s a fact that hospitals are refusing tests and admissions for whatever reasons.

Our calls to the Heritage hospital went answered, following which we dialled the emergency number at the BHU hospital. But the number provided by the BHU administration was not working. Other numbers mentioned on the website were “not in use”.

We tried to get through to the Medical Superintendent of the BHU, MS Mathur, and the Director, BR Mittal, but to no avail. Despite several calls, we could not contact them.

A Varanasi resident who studies at Wardha Hindu University said, “The situation in our city is getting worse with each passing day. While hospitals refuse admission citing lack of beds/infrastructure, the local administration seems to have abandoned people to die. The system is dysfunctional.”

“The actual numbers of Covid deaths and infected people are much higher than being released by the administration,” said the student.

As per government’s own admission, the temple city has seen a steep rise of 1,266 per cent in Covid cases over the past two weeks. As on April 17, Uttar Pradesh recorded 150,676 active cases with Varanasi district currently having more than 11000 active infections, the highest after state capital Lucknow and Prayagraj.

Surprisingly, despite steep rise in Covid deaths and active cases, the district administration continues to quote the number of Covid deaths in the city in just single digit.

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Published: 17 Apr 2021, 4:02 PM