Has the State government lost the zeal to fight COVID-19 and decided to let people fend for themselves, asked the Telangana High Court on Wednesday.
Referring to government’s style of tackling coronavirus and non-compliance of its directions on related issues, the HC said it would be compelled to act tough with the government. A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, hearing a batch of PIL pleas on different aspects of government’s handling the situation, instructed Gandhi Hospital Superintendent to attend the hearings online on Thursday.
The bench also wanted Public Health Director G. Srinivasa Rao, who earlier attended the hearings online, to appear on Thursday stating that he made some promises but they were not delivered. Advocate General B.S. Prasad said even Mr. Rao was under quarantine and it would be difficult for him to attend the proceedings.
Making it clear that physical and medical safety of each and every member of medical department was of pivotal importance, the bench said the government was talking about having stocks of over 70,000 PPE kits. “We are not concerned with the stock but specifically want to know how many are being supplied to doctors,” the CJ said.
He said, according to some reports, the PPE kits used by one doctor were being passed on to another the next day. If every safety gear was fully available, how did so many doctors and para-medic staff members contracted the virus, the CJ asked. Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy said some reports also pointed to the safety gear’s quality was poor.
Observing that Gandhi Hospital was a horrible place based on some inputs, the CJ sought to know why the government was sending virus-affected persons only to that hospital even as junior doctors complained it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to handle too many patients. An impression is being created that Gandhi Hospital is the only facility that can treat COVID-19 patients.
“What is happening at King Koti, Chest Hospital and other facilities? Neither the government nor the media talks about this,” the bench said. In the light of experts’ opinions that coronavirus is likely to spread further by July and turn severe by November, the bench asked if the government was geared up to meet the challenge and what its plans were.
Observing that its suggestions to conduct more tests and improve more designate hospitals were falling on the government’s deaf ears, the bench questioned why coronavirus treatment was not being included in Aarogyasri scheme. Even as the AG said the government decided to conduct 50,000 tests in city, the CJ remarked that the ICMR had already said “even that was too little”.