Many sanitation inspectors and officers are being deputed for election work
Public health officials of the Greater Chennai Corporation have been drafted for election work, affecting the COVID-19 containment work and vaccination programme in the city.
Of the 28,500 employees identified for election work in the 16 Assembly constituencies of Chennai district, 102 are sanitation inspectors and 52 are sanitation officers.
Health inspectors, who are on contract for COVID-19 containment activities, have also been drafted for election work, according to sources. Sanitation inspectors said they had participated in election training in Chennai district and were not exempted from the election work even after the public health activities got affected by the announcement of the election.
Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash, however, said public health employees would be exempt from election duty.
Senior officials said the Corporation would ask neighbouring district election officials to exempt sanitation inspectors and officers from election duty in the Assembly constituencies like Maduravoyal.
The Chennai district election office, headed by Mr. Prakash, covers 16 constituencies in the old city limits. Election work in constituencies on the periphery is handled by officials of the neighbouring districts.
According to data shared by public health officials, the number of COVID-19 cases getting reported in Chennai has been rising for the past one week, with nearly 400 cases getting reported on Wednesday.
A few people who contracted the disease told The Hindu that the follow-up by Corporation officials, which was done diligently earlier, had become less reliable and patchy now.
“My wife and I tested positive five days ago. We had fever and related symptoms and got tested through a private lab. After the results came positive, we were expecting calls from the Corporation but did not receive any,” said a person from Velachery. This is in sharp contrast to the containment and contact-tracing work that was done last year during the peak of the epidemic, he pointed out. “We did teleconsultation with a doctor from a private hospital, who prescribed some medication and advised us to quarantine ourselves,” he said.
Another person from Mandaveli, who tested positive in the beginning of March, shared a similar experience.
“There has not been a single call from the Corporation. As I had mild symptoms, I quarantined myself at home for 14 days. I thought that someone would visit and paste a sticker outside my home as they used to do before. Now, I am not even sure if Corporation officials know that I have tested positive,” he said.
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