Three armed security personnel accompany nine nurses and two doctors as they head to Karma Gondi, a village in Chhattisgarh’s Naxal-dominated Sukma district, to test for Covid-19. The village, more than 25 km from the nearest highway, is enclosed by a forest. In the past week, nearly one out of three people tested in this village — 91 of 239 — have tested positive for the coronavirus.
All the positive cases have been moved to a Covid care centre at the district headquarters, and the village has been declared a containment zone.
Within Karma Gondi, healthcare workers in PPE kits cross alleys trying to avoid brambles that get stuck in the plastic. The testing area, under a cluster of neem trees, includes two tables and some plastic chairs sourced from the Kukanar Police Station, about 20 km away.
The eight firms that responded to Maharashtra’s call, The Indian Express found, are either consultancy firms, involved in export/import, or firms that work on commission basis – only three are in the health sector. They have quoted between $10-38 (Rs 728-Rs 2767) for a dose. “Some even assured supply within three weeks of placing an advance order,” a senior official said.
Maharashtra received responses from three Indian companies: GameChangerz; Tapadiya International Interventional Technology and Healthcare Ltd; and GetIt Innovations Private Ltd. Those based outside India include ProcureNet, Kinfolk Trading FZC, Grupo Fermexor, Medical Supply Company of Switzerland (MSCS) and Hadley Development LLC.
All three Indian companies have claimed they can supply Russian vaccine Sputnik V. A spokesperson for Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) that handles Sputnik said they have no formal tie-ups in India apart from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.