"Not National News": Minister On ICU Deaths Discussion At PM's Covid Meet - NDTV
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said state will provide financial assistance to those affectedMumbai: Hours after the death of 14 coronavirus patients in a fire at a hospital in Maharashtra, state health minister Rajesh Tope
Hours after the death of 14 coronavirus patients in a fire at a hospital in Maharashtra, state health minister Rajesh Tope was asked by reporters if this matter would be raised at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with chief ministers today. "It's not a national news," Mr Tope replied, saying the supply of oxygen, anti-viral drug Remdesivir would be discussed at the COVID-19 review meeting instead as Maharashtra battles a rapid surge in cases. With a total caseload of over 40 lakh infections, it is the worst-hit state.
"In today's meeting with the Prime Minister, we will talk about oxygen, Remdesivir, an adequate quantity of vaccines for the State...also the Virar fire incident, it is not national news. The state government will provide financial assistance to those affected," Minister Rajesh Tope told a posse of reporters asking if the hospital deaths will be taken up at the meeting.
#WATCH Virar fire incident, not national news...says Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope
13 people have lost their lives in a fire incident at Vijay Vallabh COVID care hospital in Maharashtra's Virar pic.twitter.com/hNZEHIbnLp— ANI (@ANI) April 23, 2021
Jitendra Ahwad, a fellow minister and cabinet colleague, has reacted on this. "Don't know what he said. Even one death is unfortunate and we are saddened by it."
Clarifying his statement later, Mr Tope said he was speaking to reporters about the issues that would be discussed at the PM's review meet when he was suddenly asked a question related to the Virar fire tragedy, to which he had responded. The minster appealed that his comments about the tragedy should not be distorted and taken out of context.
"I was asked about what topics I will be discussing with PM Narendra Modi. It was already decided that oxygen supply, Remdesivir and vaccine availability will be the topics of discussion from the state side. As I was completing my answer, I was interrupted by the question related to Virar fire tragedy," Mr Tope was quoted saying by news agency PTI
The Minister added he should be judged by his track record.
The fire broke out at around 3 am in the ICU on the second floor of the four-storeyed Vijay Vallabh Hospital, an official said. The incident comes as Maharashtra battles the devastating second wave of coronavirus and an unprecedented surge in Covid infections. Over 67,000 fresh cases have been reported since yesterday.
PM Modi called the deaths in Palghar district's Virar "tragic". "Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover soon," his office quoted him as saying in a tweet.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's office said he "has expressed sorrow" over the deaths.
Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis were among the top leaders who condoled the deaths on social media.
On Wednesday, 24 Covid patients died in Nashik after an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital, disrupting supply to patients for around 30 minutes.
In another incident last month, 10 people died after a huge fire broke out at a mall in Mumbai where a hospital was treating Covid patients. Uddhav Thackeray had sought "forgiveness" from the families of those who lost lives, adding that some of those who died "could not be saved because they were on ventilators".