Top MP bureaucracy courts coronavirus, go into isolation

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Bhopal, April 6 (IANS) With several members of the top bureaucracy in Madhya Pradesh testing Covid-19 positive and the number of coronavirus cases rising at an alarming rate, questions have cropped up on the officials attending meetings with the Chief Minister in the war room.

Over 100 journalists have been asked to isolate themselves after one of them attended outgoing Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s press conference a fortnight ago. An FIR has been filed against him for hiding the information about his daughter’s return from London and testing positive for the virus.
While others have been facing FIRs over lesser lapses, Principal Secretary in the Health Department Pallavi Jain-Govil, who has tested positive, is now facing a barrage of queries over hiding the information about her son’s return from the US on March 16.
She had been attending meetings that included the Chief Minister, the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police without going through the mandatory isolation.
Jain-Govil said her son had arrived from the US on March 16 and the USA was not among the 12 nations listed by the government notification for restrictions to be observed. She said her son stayed in isolation till March 30. She claimed that her family had gone through mandatory tests.
Dr Veena Sinha, Additional Director of the Health Department, too have tested positive for Covid-19. Her son had arrived from the US after the coronavirus outbreak.
Jain-Govil and Sinha have been admitted to Bhopal AIIMS and their family members are also quarantined.
Some of the staff who have been meeting them for preparing daily health bulletins have not been screened for coronavirus. Around 150 Health Department employees are now under medical supervision.
Pramod Goyal, Deputy Director of the integrated disease surveillance programme, who has tested Covid-19 positive had travelled to Indore, the coronavirus hotspot in the state.
On Friday, IAS officer and Health Corporation Managing Director J.J. Vijay Kumar tested coronavirus positive.
On Saturday, 12 IAS officers of the coronavirus core group were quarantined at home.
Eight more Health Department employees tested positive on Saturday, said Chief Medical and Health Officer Bhopal Sudhir Kumar Daheria. Eleven more Health Department staffers reported positive during the weekend.
The officers who have quarantined themselves included Faiz Ahmed Kidwai, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister. Also, acting Health Director, he has been put up at the Lake View Ashoka Hotel.
Collectors Nishant Barwade, S Dhanaraju and Sudam P Khade have moved to the guest house of the Academy of Administration. Their families are quarantined at home.
Prateek Hajela, till recently the Health Director, is staying at home. Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains has also quarantined himself.
So far, 17 Covid-19 cases have been reported in the state capital.