Telangana has joined the list of states that have acquired the dubious distinction of logging in more than 10,000 Covid-19 positive cases daily. In just a matter of 24 hours, ending 8 pm on Monday, there were 10,122 cases, a 35% rise from 6,551 cases on the previous day. The positivity rate shot up to an all-time high of 10.7%.
As the crisis deepens, the medical infrastructure is falling apart. Not a day passes without coming across heart-rending tales of patients gasping for oxygen beds in hospitals or outside or those waiting for their turn for a ventilator facility. Taking advantage of the situation, private hospitals are bleeding the people, which is forcing a majority of the patients to run to government hospitals that are suffering from several systemic problems including lack of staff and poor sanitation.
Nothing speaks more eloquently about the grim scenario than the fact that even CM K Chandrashekar Rao, his son and minister K T Rama Rao, and several Cabinet ministers tested positive and are now under isolation and treatment. The CM took part in the campaign for the by-election to the Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly seat and a few days later, his test result came positive.
The only wise counsel that is heard often is from the High Court, which has been pointing out the lapses of the government in implementing measures to rein in the pandemic. Though cinema theatres have voluntarily closed down, pubs, bars and liquor shops are doing business with gay abandon. And the politicos are organising rallies for seven urban local bodies that are going to the polls.
Though the government has imposed night curfew and fetched oxygen from Odisha, this alone cannot solve the problem. It is expected that KCR, after he recovers from Covid-19, might announce a lockdown for a limited period, but all possibilities need to be explored before that and key sectors like construction should be exempted to prevent the economy and livelihoods from taking a hit. To help those who cannot afford expensive medical care in private hospitals, the state could consider temporarily taking over at least half of them under the Epidemic Diseases Act.