UP Health System Crumbles: From Noida to Lucknow, State in Turmoil

Looking at the crumbling health infrastructure now, people are left wondering where all that preparation went.

3 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bharadwaj

Dev Narayan Jha, a society resident in Noida’s Sector 76, got his COVID report on 8 April. Doctors initially recommended him to remain in self-isolation. Jha’s wife, his son and other members of the family also contracted the virus during this time. Jha’s son, now admitted in a hospital, tells The Quint, “If an ambulance had come on time, our father could have been saved.”

An old couple in Kanpur’s Lal Bangla, who stay with their daughter-in-law and two granddaughters all turned out to be COVID-positive. They tried calling the authorities when their symptoms got worse, but to no avail. One bed was finally cleared for them, however, the couple had severely low oxygen levels by then.

In Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar, Ankit Singh’s elder brother is severely ill. Singh says that he has been trying to get the medicines from chemists for four to five days but it seems to be out of stock.


Over the past few days, photos from several crematoriums have been showing dozens of bodies being cremated. The situation is so terrible that sometimes a token has to be taken for cremating a body, sometimes wood is not available.

Despite Night Curfews, Closure of Schools and Colleges, the Situation Has Only Gotten Worse

  • Just a month ago, on 16 March, 228 cases were registered in 24 hours. In comparison, on 15 April, 22,439 new cases were registered. During this period, as per the official data, 730 people have succumbed to the virus.
Looking at the crumbling health infrastructure now, people are left wondering where all that preparation went.
  • Though ‘unlock’ was in the talks last month, now several towns and cities in Uttar Pradesh have imposed a night curfew. On 15 April, a night curfew was imposed in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Kanpur, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Bareilly, and Balliya. The timings of the curfew are from 8 pm to 7 am.
  • Schools for students preparing for exams also remained shut. UP Board examinations have also been postponed. Coaching classes have also been asked to remain shut.

What Happened to All the Preparation?

UP reported its first infection on 3 March 2020, following which many arrangements were apparently made. Looking at the crumbling health infrastructure now, people are left wondering where all that preparation went.

Cabinet Minister of Legislative, Justice, Rural Engineering Brajesh Pathak has himself stated that the government’s preparation to handle the COVID crisis is worse than before. The condition is such, that after crematorium photos were circulated on social media, tin sheets were put on the boundaries of the crematorium. Priyanka Gandhi had also tweeted out the video.

Even the Chief Minister and Former CM Are COVID-Positive

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who’s been fighting a ‘war’ on COVID, has contracted the virus himself. UP Minister Ashutosh Tandon and former CM Akhilesh Yadav have also tested positive.

Dozens of IAS officer and several more health officials are also infected. Several hospitals like KJMU, PGI and Balrampur Hospital have COVID-positive medical personnel, making the health infrastructure weaker.

In Baranas, a family had tested COVID-positive. The family patriarch’s symptoms started getting worse as he is a diabetic. Efforts to get him admitted began. The COVID-positive son himself took his father to a private hospital and got a bed only after hours of wait.

After getting the bed, it was found that there were no oxygen cylinders available. The family arranged for oxygen cylinders themselves and got the man back home. When he got worse again, he was air-lifted to Delhi. Now, he is in a private hospital and needs plasma, for which the family is again on the lookout.

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