Despite the numbers rising with each passing day, the Maharashtra government has said the H1N1 virus in Maharashtra is not mutative and the spread of swine flu is under control.
Addressing the state Assembly, public health minister Deepak Sawant said they will soon bring the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services Act into effect to ensure all medical departments and agencies coordinate and help tackle emergencies such as outbreak of diseases. The law, Sawant said, will bring all medical college-run hospitals, municipal hospitals and public health hospitals under one umbrella.
The government will also form a committee under director general of health Subhash Salunkhe, which will monitor the swine flu virus and ensure the situation remains under control.
The Opposition, however, slammed Sawant and demanded his resignation over the “uncontrollable spread” and “the lack of ventilators and vaccines in the state”. “We have so far sent five samples to the National Institute of Virology (NIV). No mutation has been observed,” Sawant said, replying to the issue raised by MNS legislator Sharad Sonavane.
NCP legislator Ajit Pawar, who demanded Sawant’s resignation, said this is the first instance where the number of people dying of swine flu is so high.
Legislator Chhagan Bhujbal said, “The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has given a report stating the current virus is deadlier than before. There are ground reports stating there is a scarcity of Tamiflu, and the state government
has asked the Centre for 12,000 vaccines, but have got only 3,000.”
Denying the allegations, Sawant said that in August 2010, 210 people had died of swine flu in one month.
“In the past 24 hours, 61 cases have come up, which is a dip. Since January, the state has provided Tamiflu to 33,302 people suspected to be suffering from Tamiflu. Of these, 3,483 were confirmed as swine flu cases. Two hundred and ninety-three people died and 31 are on ventilator support,” he said.
Sawant said the hospitals have been asked to keep 2-3 ventilators aside for swine flu patients, and there are around 300 extra ventilators.
Explaining the use of vaccines, Sawant said they can be used only as a preventive measure or to build immunity, and not to cure a patient.