The Madhya Pradesh principal health secretary who had received misplaced plaudits for working in quarantine after testing coronavirus-positive, Pallavi Jain-Govil has but a different reality. She is now drawing flak for flouting the rules made to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID).
According to the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC), she reported late to the hospital after showing symptoms of COVID. Before getting quarantined, she conducted several meetings where she mingled with her contacts, exposing them to the risk of contracting the disease.
And now her son has betrayed the attitude so symptomatic of the bourgeoisie. Popular Twitter handle @ippatel has tweeted: “She is Pallavi Jain, Chief Secretary of MP Health Department. Her son had returned from the US but he hid the information. Having contracted COVID, he exposed about three dozen people of the department to the (infectious) disease. He then summoned the doctors home instead of reporting to a hospital. Upendra Dubey, the director of the health department, showed a similar attitude.”
Before Umrao, Gaurav Pandhi, national coordinator of Digital Communications and Social Media at @INCIndia, had raised the same concern on Twitter. According to the news report cited by him, the callous act made 11 people contract COVID. He tweeted: “MP Principal Secretary Pallavi Jain Govil hid her son’s travel history & continued to attend meetings despite symptoms. Now 11 people tested COVID-positive per this report. Another report claims, instead of being treated at (a) designated hospital, she is being tested at Guest House!”
Another Congress activist Vivek Tankha couldn’t have let the opportunity go. He tweeted:
The MPHRC has served a notice to Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains and other senior state government officials, telling them that some IAS officers including Pallavi Jain Govil and health department employees had tried to wriggle out of COVID-19 tests.
The notice says these bureaucrats and their families delayed hospitalisation after showing symptoms of COVID.
Chouhan govt defends Pallavi Jain-Govil & Co
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government is, however, defiant. It issued a press release, defending Pallavi Jain-Govil and others who mindlessly exposed people to the health hazard. This flies in the face of the fact that 40 of the 85 COVID cases in Bhopal have been reported within the Madhya Pradesh health department.
“Her son had arrived from the US on March 16 and as per the advisory issued by the Government of India, US was not among the 12 nations listed by the government notification for restrictions to be observed,” the press release said.
“He was tested at the Delhi airport then remained under home quarantine till 30th without any symptoms, he is healthy. After Pallavi Jain Govil tested positive on (the) 4th after those other family members were tested and none of the symptoms of corona(virus) were (sic) found in them,” the release added.
“Guidelines related to coronavirus issued by the Government of India clarifies in patients who have been confirmed to be infected with coronavirus but other symptoms are not reflected, they should stay in quarantine at home and monitor their health. It is told that because Mrs Pallavi Jain does not have symptoms and she is healthy, so she was not admitted to the hospital,” the statement said.