HYDERABAD: Waking up belatedly, the Telangana government on Sunday announced a slew of measures for effective management of COVID-19. It appears to have realised that it is woefully wanting in measures needed to rein in the Coronavirus, following trenchant criticism of its policies which gave scope for the infection to spread far and wide.
Though the measures that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced, which includes extensive random testing – about 50,000 people in 30 constituencies in Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Vikarabad, Medchal and Sangareddy districts in a span of 10 days, allowing private hospitals to treat COVID-19 and diagnostic facilities to test the virus and fixing fee for the services, the sibling State of Andhra Pradesh, since the beginning, pulled out all stops in containing the spread of the virus.
The realisation seems to have dawned on the Telangana Chief Minister a little late following flak from several quarters that the State was under-testing.
The State's policy of not allowing private hospitals and diagnostic facilities to deal with the virus for fear of exploitation of the poor and the middle-class only added to the burden on the doctors and the other support staff deployed at Gandhi Hospital as it is the only COVID-19 designated hospital in the entire State.
This has, in fact, led to frayed tempers not only among doctors but also patients and their attendants. This has led to clashes at the hospital.
More recently, the attendants of a deceased patient beat up a doctor and in protest, doctors went on strike for nearly two days which only exacerbated the situation at Gandhi Hospital.
In contrast, Andhra Pradesh government went for extensive testing in the beginning of the pandemic to get to the bottom of the problem and deal with it rather than limiting tests to a few suspects and live in a make-believe world that Coronavirus was on the wane.
In Telangana, there were doubts about the actual number of COVID-19 patients as the State has tested less than 50,000 suspected cases but has recorded 4,737 positive cases as on June 13. In the case of Andhra Pradesh, even though the State has an almost equal number of cases recorded as on June 14 - 4,841 positive cases, it has conducted tests on over five lakh samples.
Though the tests were more, the toll was less in Andhra Pradesh but in Telangana, though tests were less, the toll was more which is a disconcerting symptom that the malaise has dug deep roots. Till June 14, Telangana recorded 185 deaths while Andhra Pradesh recorded only 84 deaths.
K Chandrasekhar Rao asks citizens to not panic during COVID-19 tests
The Telangana Chief Minister at his review meeting on Sunday appeared very serious and keen on testing the suspects extensively. He wanted the officials to go through the COVID-19 guidelines and accordingly fix the fee to be charged by private institutions for treatment of COVID-19.
He wanted officials to draft the services of private hospitals for taking up the massive exercise of testing of 50,000 patients. He wanted officials to offer home quarantine to those who test positive but have mild symptoms. The Chief Minister wanted the people not to panic since the officials would be out testing 50,000 people at one go. "This is only a precautionary measure," he said.
Andhra Pradesh pulled out all stops in containing virus
Though now the measures that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced, which includes extensive random testing -- about 50,000 people in 30 constituencies in Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Vikarabad, Medchal and Sangareddy districts in a span of 10 days, allowing private hospitals to treat Covid-19 and diagnostic facilities to test the virus and fixing fee for the services, the sibling State of Andhra Pradesh, since the beginning, pulled out all stops in containing the spread of the virus.