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Telangana pads up | India Today Insight

KCR marshals his forces to fight the Corona battle

Telangana pads up | India Today Insight

Telangana Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekhar Rao addresses a press conference on the coronavirus outbreak.

Telangana is on a war footing in the battle against Novel Coronavirus, ramping up medical infrastructure to isolate and treat patients and mobilising resources to mitigate hardships during the prevailing three-week countrywide lockdown. We are fully geared up to meet any eventuality because this is an unprecedented contagion, a deadly demon that will spare none, irrespective of office or position, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao said. Everybody is equally exposed [to the risk], but what is important is to take precautions and mitigation measures.

As on 10.30 am, March 30, 70 people had tested positive to COVID-19 in the state. One of them has been discharged on recovery. The state has recorded one fatality so fara 74-year-old man who returned from Delhi and was admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad for respiratory illness. He tested positive after death. He had attended the recent Nizamuddin Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi where several are suspected to have contracted COVID-19 symptoms.

On March 27, KCR announced that the state’s capability to handle COVID-19 cases had been augmented by increasing the number of quarantine facilities and intensive care units (ICUs) in the hospitals of Hyderabad. We have expanded our facilities to be able to handle over 60,000 COVID- 19 cases simultaneously, he said. This includes 11,000 beds in isolation wards and another 1,400 in the ICUs. The state’s hospital network is currently equipped with 170 ventilators. The KCR government estimates that 3-4 per cent of the total cases would require ICU care, of which only 2 per cent may need ventilator support.

The KCR government is converting the sports village at the Gachibowli Stadium into a quarantine centre, with 1,500 beds spread across six floors. It has drawn up a pool of 11,000 healthcare professionals. Retired doctors and fresh medical graduates are also being enlisted. All efforts of the government will, however, prove to be futile if people do not cooperate, cautioned the chief minister, stressing on the need to adhere to the lockdown.

KCR said that with international flights cancelled, the threat of import of the virus from foreign returnees had been neutralized, and if people adhered to the lockdown in letter and spirit, it was possible to contain local transmission.

Telangana officials said 25,937 people, including foreign returnees, had been quarantined and their condition was being tracked continuously by 5,746 teams, who visit or call them twice a day. Their quarantine will end by April 7. None of the hospitalised patients needs to be kept in ICU or on ventilator. Of these cases, six are senior citizens--all Indonesian nationals--but they are recovering well, said Dr G. Srinivasa Rao, director of public health, Telangana.

While government hospitals are at the frontline in the fight against Novel Coronavirus, private colleges with hospitals will be brought on board for diagnosis and treatment if there is a spurt in cases. There are 22 medical colleges and hospitals across the state with the requisite medical staff and equipment, health minister Eatala Rajender said.

Among those infected by the virus in the state is a doctor couple with no recent history of foreign travel history, a three-year-old who returned from Saudi Arabia recently and 10 Indonesian Islamic preachers who were on a visit to the state. The Indonesians had landed in New Delhi and reached Ramagundam in the state’s Peddapalli district by train from Bhopal. The group further travelled by car to Karimnagar and a few other places.

To minimise the impact of the lockdown on people’s lives, the KCR government has announced uninterrupted supply of power and water to farmers to enable them to harvest crops by mid-April. In an ambitious move, it has directed agriculture authorities to ensure the procurement of 10.5 million tonnes of paddy at designated procurement centres in villages, and store it locally, so as to assure growers of remunerative prices. A relief package announced for migrant workers, who are estimated to be in thousands in the state, includes Rs 500 in cash and 12 kg of rice for each worker.

Voluntary organisations are also providing migrants and other disadvantaged groups free food. K. Sai Rama Devi, principal district judge and chairman of the District Legal Services Authority, Sangareddy, has opened the court premises to feed migrant workers journeying their way towards native villages in the western parts of Telangana or to contiguous Karnataka and Maharashtra. No poor person living in the state, whichever state or region they may belong to, should suffer for want of food, KCR said.

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