Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) on Thursday morning to take stock of the situation after several serving professors succumbed to Covid-19 in the past few weeks.
The CM had earlier expressed concern over the news of the deaths of the professors and staff of AMU. He had also called up university Vice-Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor, assuring him of all the help to fight the Covid-19 menace.
The CM will reach AMU in the morning by air and will go straight to the integrated Covid-19 command centre at around 11 am. Following this, he will head to the auditorium of JN Hospital to chair a meeting with administrative officials, including Mansoor and the CMO.
Officials of other districts will be joining the meeting virtually. The CM will then go for an on-ground inspection at around 1 pm before finally leaving for Mathura at 1.45 pm.
Earlier, Union Education Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ spoke to the V-C over phone and expressed his concern over the issue.
Samples sent to Delhi for viral genome sequencing
Since April-end, several working as well as retired professors and other staff members have succumbed to Covid-19 at AMU.
Following the series of deaths, few samples collected at the ICMR-approved Covid-19 testing laboratory of Department of Microbiology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) in AMU, were sent for viral genome sequencing to the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi.
This was done to study the severity of infection and its suspected new variant.
The samples were sent after V-C Mansoor on Sunday wrote to ICMR Director General Professor Balram Bhargava, urging him to study the infection variant circulating rapidly in the campus.
“This is to bring into your notice that 16 AMU faculty members, a number of retired teachers and employees in other categories, who were living in the university campus and adjoining localities have succumbed to Covid-19. This is giving rise to a suspicion that a particular viral variant may be circulating in the Civil Lines area of Aligarh in which AMU and many adjoining localities are situated,” the VC said in the letter.
“I request you to instruct the concerned section/department of the ICMR to perform analysis of Covid-19 samples sent from our lab to investigate for any particular viral variants of Covid-19 virus circulating in Aligarh, which may be giving rise to greater severity of the disease, so that we may consider other epidemiological links and measures to control the same as per advice and recommendations,” he urged.
‘AMU doctors working round-the-clock’
Speaking to News18, AMU, Public Relations Officer, Omar Peerzada said they are “concerned about the deaths of faculty members and other staff of AMU, and the university administration is taking steps to help the bereaved families”.
“JNMC administration and its team of doctors and paramedical staff are working round-the-clock with the best of their abilities, and scores of our health workers also got infected with coronavirus in the line of duty. We offer deep condolences to families of all the deceased,” he said.
Peerzada said that a “massive vaccination drive has been going on for those above 45 years and also for those in the age group of 18 to 44 years”.
“The doctors and paramedical staff at AMU have been working round-the-clock in such a situation, and it is commendable. The V-C has urged people to get vaccinated as soon as they can,” added Peerzada.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Superintendent and Principal, JNMC, Prof Shahid Ali Siddiqui has said that an exaggerated figures of the deaths are doing the rounds on social media.
“AMU has lost 18 of its faculty members since the onset of the second Covid wave, out of which 15 were either Covid or suspected Covid patients. Three patients have died because of non-Covid reasons such as brain tuberculosis and liver disease. And moreover, out of the 15 Covid or suspected Covid deaths, four have occurred outside Aligarh,” he said.
“These social media posts have also wrongly mentioned that the retired faculty members who died in the past one month were all undergoing treatment at JNMC. We like to make it clear that many of these superannuated faculty members were not even in Aligarh at the time of their deaths,” he added.