Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has said that the BJP government in the state is better placed than several neighbouring states to deal with the second Covid wave and is gearing up well for a possible third wave.

“It is very satisfactory that the positivity rate has come down. At the peak of the second wave, we had roughly 50,000 active cases, which has come down to 9,000 in June. Sadly, 3,244 people lost their lives due to corona virus. Between the first and second waves, we strengthened the healthcare system, which is helping save lives. In the past few days, the number of active cases has come down,” he said.

“Himachal Pradesh is a state where patients have faced no shortage of beds and medical oxygen in the second wave. Our central quota of liquid oxygen has been increased to 40, new oxygen plants have been installed in Himachal,” he added.

“Himachal is number one among other states of the nation to vaccinate 45 plus people and Himachal is also among the two states which have not wasted anti-Covid vaccines,” he claimed.

“As far as the 18-44 plus catogery is concerned, we started the inconulation process as we got 1 lakh 7 thousand doses in the beginning, but later we asked to increase the doses. So, for the month of June, we have got 1 lakh 70 thousand doses; we keep on asking to increase the doses as the youth is enthusiastic to get themselves jabbed.”

“Baddi is the biggest hub of Asia’s pharmaceutical industry; we are glad that being a small state, Himachal has contributed a lot in production of medicines required during corona time not only for the nation but internationally,” he said. “Himachal is producing Amphotericin B which is required to treat black fungus and also Panacea Biotech is planning to set up a production unit of Sputnik here in Himachal,” he said.

“Himachal has 11 cases of black fungus; it’s a worrying thing for the nation but treatment is there; we are keeping a close watch over it.”

“As for a possible third wave, we are working to improve infrastructure in mother and child care hospitals across the state. We are reviewing the number of paediatricians and earmarking specialised hospitals. A comprehensive plan is being worked out,” he said. “We have initiated the unlock process; the Cabinet was scheduled to sit today to review the situation, but it’s canceled as one of our members lost his life, but we will be taking a decision over class 12 board exams in a day or two. We will review the current situation as curfew is there in the state till 7 June. We will see the situation and then only take a decision whether to open the borders or not.”

The impact of the pandemic has been there on every sector; tourism was affected last year; this year too, we are facing a huge setback in the Himachal tourism industry. So many people depend on the tourism industry for their livelihoods. People related to this industry are witnessing a huge loss, but we hope that it will get over and we will plan this industry’s recovery.”

“It is too early for preparations for Assembly polls 2022, as our first priority is to tackle the current Covid situation, though there are by-elections in the sate; so meetings have started. We have discussed the plan of action. As far as the 2022 elections are concerned, we will prepare for it and Himachal is going to create history by repeating a BJP government in the state.”