Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy has expressed serious concern over sudden rise in the number of Coronavirus positive cases in the State.
Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Saturday, Narayana Reddy said that the highest ever 169 cases, including those of Migrant Workers and Deportees, were registered in Telangana State on Friday. This was the highest ever figure in Telangana ever since the outbreak of pandemic. “It is highly unfortunate that instead of taking note of sudden spurt in the number of Covid-19 cases, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is busy in inaugurations, Poojas and Yagnams,” he said.
Reddy said that either the Chief Minister was deliberately misleading the people or KCR himself was confused over Covid-19 situation in Telangana. Referring to a statement given by the Chief Minister on May 27, he said that the Chief Minister has claimed that the Coronavirus spread was not on an alarming scale. He said there were only 27 cases when Janata Curfew was observed on March 22 which eventually turned into a full-fledged lockdown. After 68 days, the cases have increased to 2,425 during the lockdown period. He said as many as 1409 cases were reported in the last one month while 664 cases were registered since one week (from May 22). He asked KCR to define the meaning of ‘alarming scale.’
He said that the actual numbers could be much higher if the State Government increases the testing percentage. The actual number could be at least 200-300% higher if private labs are permitted to conduct tests, he said, adding that the KCR Government was honouring the orders of the High Court in this regard.
The Congress leader demanded that the State Government immediately appoint an Epidemiologist who could assist the Chief Minister or Home Minister. He said that the IAS or IPS officers lack the expertise to deal with a pandemic. Therefore, he said an Epidemiologist should be hired along with a team of experts which should advise the government on a daily basis. Stating that Telangana does not even have 1,000 ventilators as on today, he asked the government to upgrade the entire health infrastructure, including trained health professionals, to tackle any eventuality. He said lessons should be learnt from countries like the USA, Spain, France, etc., who could not handle sudden spurt in Covid-19 cases which resulted in deaths of thousands of people.
Narayana Reddy said that the Recovery Rate of Covid-19 patients in Telangana was just 56.95%, which is too low compared to other States with a large number of cases. It means, for very 100 confirmed cases, 40 are currently infected. “The KCR Govt has no strategy to deal with the Coronavirus situation. Instead of taking corrective measures, KCR is giving misleading statements to divert people’s attention from his failures,” he said.
Initially, KCR defended lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. But now he is defending the relaxation in lockdown. He said that the Chief Minister openly violated the norms for social distancing and no one was wearing the mask during the inauguration of Konda Pochamma Sagar project on Friday. “KCR is the Chief Minister of Telangana which has a population of over 3.5 crore. He should behave responsibly and send a positive message among people through his actions. By not wearing a mask and not maintaining physical distance, he tried to give a wrong impression to the people that the Covid-19 scare was no more relevant,” he said.
Gudur said that the lockdown was unplanned and its implementation was erratic. Now the relaxations too are unplanned with the State Government issuing different guidelines every day. He said initially, shops were permitted to open on alternate days on Odd-Even basis. Even before the shops were marked, new orders were issued that all of them, except shopping malls, could open on all days.
The Congress leader appealed to the Chief Minister to undo the mistake committed so far and take immediate measures on war footing to avert a catastrophe. He said the rising number of Coronavirus should not be treated lightly and all suspects, with or without symptoms, should be traced, tested and treated.