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Center flags Telangana government for lower testing rate, says, COVID-19 testing is being mismanaged

COVID-19 testing is being done by the government alone to ensure that people are not subjected to fear psychosis, KT Rama Rao spoke at a Webinar today.

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Telangana: The state is being widely criticized for its mishandling of the Covid-19 infection and the lower rate of Covid-19 testing compared to other states. As of May 27, Telangana had tested only 546 persons per million population against the national average of 1,025 per day. According to government data accessed by The Print, Telangana had conducted 36,851 tests only over a population of 3.9 crores.

As of June 7, the number of calamities due to COVID-19 has been exactly doubled to 137, in the following 12 days. Compared to Maharashtra which is the worst-hit state by Covid-19, Telangana reported a mortality rate of (3.79%), which is poorer than Maharashtra (3.66%), as of June 10.

State health minister Etela Rajendra defended K Chandrashekhar Rao government’s approach as ‘correct’ since only 6 people were testing positive in Telangana over 100 tested. This development comes on the expressed displeasure of the High Court, over the government’s lack of proactive testing.

Representative image of Gandhi Hospital, located in Hyderabad.

Last week, over the death of a 33-year-old journalist, Manoj Kumar at the Gandhi hospital, his brother Sainath who also was a COVID-19 patient admitted in the same hospital alleged that doctors at the nodal Gandhi hospital in Hyderabad attended his brother after 12 hours despite him repeatedly claiming of breathing difficulty, adding that there were no doctors present inside the hospital’s ICU. A WhatsApp chat between the two brothers is also said to be floating over the internet revealing the gap between the action promised and the response delivered.

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“The situation is that without any influence, it is difficult to get proper treatment. For commoners, it is really difficult here,” alleged Sainath, in a video message on Tuesday.

However, senior health officials at the hospital refuted all the claims. “The deceased was already suffering from Myasthenia Gravis, which caused the weakening of muscles including respiratory ones. He also underwent surgery and was high on steroids. Besides all these, he became COVID-19 positive and had bilateral pneumonia with type-1 respiratory failure. Thus, his health conditions contributed to his death. Despite our best efforts, we could not save him,” said Superintendent Raja Rao. The alleged negligence of the hospital in the patient’s treatment is malicious propaganda, said KCR government in response.

According to them, the hospital is equipped with adequate facilities to treat 2,150 patients and had 1,000 beds with an oxygen supply facility. “Patients who got treatment here, “went home happy”, it is painful that some are leveling false charges,” they rued.

Recently, the state has been under the central government’s as well as Telangana High Court’s scanner for its lower rate of testing but the state government continues to claim that its testing protocol adheres to ICMR guidelines and keep preventing private players from stepping in.

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The opposition leader Jeevan Reddy said the numbers speak for themselves, “while others are testing in lakhs, we are still testing in thousands”. Reddy claimed the government wants to pretend everything is under control because the Hyderabad municipal elections are around the corner.

The governor of the state, Tamilisai Soundararajan said even the basic information is not shared with her, in a conversation with Deccan Chronicle. She has written many letters to the KCR government communicating her concerns, as she herself is a doctor but the state government’s response has been less than satisfactory according to her.

Covid 19 testing
File photo of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao meeting governor Tamilisai Soundrarajan.

As a fellow doctor, she visited NIMS (Nizam’s Institute for Medical Sciences) to interact with COVID-19 affected doctors to stand with them in solidarity on Monday but the authorities and state health department were aghast at her decision. Across the state, 153 healthcare workers have tested positive, out of which 79 are doctors at government hospitals, diagnosed over the two weeks.

Junior doctors at Gandhi hospital launch strike blocking the road. Picture Source: The Asia Image.

On Tuesday, there was a dharna at the Gandhi hospital, which started by nearly 200 junior doctors demanding all healthcare workers be tested and sought immediate release of 10% salary incentive announced by the state three months ago. It continued till Wednesday.

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With the lockdown practically non-existent, after the center’s announcement, the situation will become extremely serious by July 31, if the cases keep rising in the state at the present rate, according to a GHMC (Greater Hyderabad News Corporation) news release.

The state announced its COVID-19 lockdown two days before the central government on March 22nd.

 

Image Courtesy: Telangana Today

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