Battling Covid, and government denial, in rural India | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 09, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:24 AM, May 09, 2021

Battling Covid, and government denial, in rural India

People in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh are fighting not just a raging pandemic but also a prickly Hindu nationalist local government that many say is in denial. 

The state authorities, headed by a monk touted by some as a successor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, insist there are no shortages and take a dim view of those "spreading fear".

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But the virus is clearly wreaking havoc as it spreads beyond big cities into the towns and villages not only of Uttar Pradesh, home to 240 million people, but elsewhere in India's colossal hinterland.

Brijesh Pandey spends hours every day in the hot sun jostling with others for medical oxygen for his brother-in-law, who is now at home struggling to breathe.

Even though his relative clearly needs hospital treatment, he was unable to get a bed because of government red tape.

"We could only get a rapid antigen test done which is not accepted by hospitals for admission," Panday told AFP as he waited outside a oxygen cylinder filling station in Moradabad district.

"They are demanding an RT-PCR (test), and that is not available," he said.

 

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