Hyderabad, June 15: Welcoming the decision of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao to permit private hospitals and labs to test and treat Covid-19 patients, the Congress party described the move as ‘Too Little and Too Late’ in containing the spread of Coronavirus in Telangana State.
Speaking to media persons on Monday, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy said the Chief Minister delayed the decision by about one-and-a-half month although the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) had authorised 18 private hospitals and laboratories to conduct the Covid-19 tests in addition to nine government hospitals/institutions. He reminded that on April 6, he had appealed to the Chief Minister to issue local guidelines to permit private labs to test Coronavirus. “There were only 334 positive cases and 11 deaths on April 6. It took 69 days for KCR to wake up from slumber and today the tally stands at 5,000 positive cases, including 2,412 Active Cases and 185 deaths. Massive testing to trace the Covid-19 patients would’ve helped in their early treatment and we could’ve prevented the spread of Coronavirus and dozens of precious lives. But KCR tried to play the role of a medical expert and did not listen to any advice,” he alleged.
Narayana Reddy expressed concern over two TRS MLAs Muttireddy Yadgiri Reddy (Jangaon) and Bajireddy Goverdhan (Nizamabad Rural) testing positive for Coronavirus and prayed for their early recovery. He said that it was unfortunate that the Chief Minister’s negligent attitude has put the lives of public representatives in danger. Since testing was not done at a large scale, many Covid-19 patients were moving freely while spreading the deadly disease. He said the infection to both MLAs, staff members of Health Minister Etala Rajender, Finance Minister Harish Rao, GHMC Mayor B. Rammohan and others was the result of community transmission. “At least now, the Chief Minister should shun his arrogant attitude and accept the reality of community transmission in Telangana. This will make the people to be more alert and cautious. It is better for people to get panicked and stay safe than getting infected with Coronavirus in contentment,” he said.
The Congress leader said that the Chief Minister had permitted Covid-19 in private hospitals only to justify the admission of both TRS MLAs in corporate hospitals. “All Covid-19 patients were forced to get treatment only at Gandhi Hospital. Video journalist Manoj Kumar was not allowed to shift to a private hospital although he complained of lack of facilities in Gandhi Hospital which consequently led to his death. If KCR is so confident of better facilities at Gandhi Hospital, then let him direct his party MLAs to get treatment in the same hospital. Just to avoid criticism, the Chief Minister is now permitting the private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients which exposes his hypocrisy,” he said.
Narayana Reddy said that the Chief Minister should not fix the number of Coronavirus tests to 50,000 in five most affected districts, especially Hyderabad. He said the entire population in all containment zones across the State, with or without symptoms, should be tested. Further, he said that the State Government should appoint an Epidemiologist as an Advisor to properly trace, test and treat the Covid-19 patients. He warned that a casual approach in dealing with the Coronavirus situation at this stage might prove too costly for Telangana State.
Further, he demanded that the State Government should bear the cost of Covid-19 testing and treatment in private hospitals.
The TPCC Treasurer also demanded that the Chief Minister disclose the exact status of availability of health infrastructure to deal with the Covid-19 situation. “After a review meeting on April 15, the Chief Minister had claimed that 2.25 lakh PPE Kits and 3.25 lakh N95 were available in Telangana and their numbers will increase to 10 lakh each soon. How many PPE Kits and N95 masks have been utilised in the last two months and have we procured the remaining stock? How many PPE Kits and N95 masks are available for use as on today?” he asked.
Further, he said that the Chief Minister had also claimed that 20,000 beds were available and the government made arrangements to handle one lakh patients. He said that the State Government should disclose the exact figures of ICU beds, Ventilators, other medical equipment, number of doctors and other medical staff in Telangana State. As per the study conducted by the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) and Princeton University, as on April 20, 2020, Telangana had 4,110 hospitals including 3,247 private hospitals. There were just 20,983 beds in 863 government hospitals while private hospitals had 78,936 beds. There were 4,996 ICU beds, including 1,049 in public and 3,947 in private hospitals. Only 2,498 ventilators are available in Telangana which include 525 in public and 1,973 in private hospitals. The State Government should explain as to what extent it has upgraded the public hospitals in terms of beds, ICU beds and ventilators, he demanded.
Narayana Reddy said that many experts have predicted a spurt in the number of Coronavirus cases in the next few weeks. Therefore, he said that the State Government should dedicate all its resources to fight the battle against Coronavirus. Life of each citizen of Telangana is highly precious and it should be saved at any cost, he said.