While the Telangana High Court directed the state government to immediately take a call
on imposing either a lockdown or stringent curfews to combat the Covid-19 pandemic just today, Health Minister Etala Rajender reiterated once again the government's stand that there was currently no need for such measures
, on the same day.
Speaking to the media after inspecting Warangal's MGP Hospital, the minister said, "The people of Telangana need not panic about the pandemic as the situation in Telangana is not like it is in Maharashtra or Delhi. We can still hold the upcoming local body elections
as well. That is why our government is not considering imposing a lockdown right now. However, it is still extremely important to follow all the Covid-19 safety norms to keep ourselves and those around us safe from the disease."
"Our state's health infrastructure is equipped to handle critical Covid-19 patients. At the MGP Hospital itself, even though 945 patients are currently undergoing treatment, the hospital is equipped to take on about 300 more. There are some patients who have been fleeing from hospitals without getting the required treatment due to their lack o awareness of the implications of such actions. However, this does not reflect badly on the healthcare professionals in the state as they are working round the clock to treat Covid-19 patients," he added.
Rajender also held a review meeting with the officials of the health department to assess the status of the pandemic in Warangal.
The minister's optimism may seem uncalled for to many since case figures have been skyrocketing for some time now. Just yesterday, while addressing concerns about the shortage of beds in the state's medical institutions, he had rubbished all claims
that there was any such problem adding that though the ongoing second wave had significantly pushed up the state's case tally, 95% of the affected persons were asymptomatic.
In a letter to SEC head
C Parathasarathi, Congress leader and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir had pointed out that it was unwise to go on with the local body elections, and had claimed, "As per the bulletin issued by the health department, a record 4,446 fresh cases and 12 deaths were reported on April 16. As against the 13,272 cases reported in Telangana between April 3 and 9, a total of 22,240 cases were reported between April 10 and 16. This translates to a 68% increase in the case tally. The increase in the districts in which polling is to be held has also been nothing less than alarming - compared to the previous week, there has been a 215% rise in cases recorded in Warangal Rural, a 47% rise in Warangal Urban, a 124% rise in Khammam, a 105% rise in Nagarkurnool, a 105% rise in Siddipet, an 88% rise in Nalgonda, a 76% rise in Mahabubnagar and a 73% rise in Rangareddy."
One wonders what decision the TRS government will take in the days to come.