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TPCC Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy
TPCC Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy

Congress demands Covid-19 tests for all vulnerable groups

Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy demanded that the State Government conduct rapid and random tests for all vulnerable groups, especially those more than 60 years of age.

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Monday, Narayana Reddy said that the Telangana Government was not following the norms set by World Health Organisation (WHO) of “Trace, Test and Treat” to combat the Coronavirus in the State.

Quoting figures furnished by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao in his press conference held on Sunday, he said that so far only 14,962 samples have been tested across the State. “KCR, while addressing a press conference on March 27, had stated that 25,937 have been quarantined in Telangana and they would be completing the 14-day quarantine period by April 7.

In Sunday’s press conference, he informed that 1,818 persons are still quarantined. Therefore, of nearly 27,755 suspects, only 14,962 samples (or 53%) have been tested which is too low,” he said.

Narayana Reddy asked as to why the State Government did not conduct Covid-19 tests even all identified suspects. “As per CM’s statement, nine government testing facilities have a capacity of 1560 per day. Why the capacity was not fully utilised? We’re having lockdown since March 22.

On an average, only 432 samples were tested per day for the last 28 days. We could’ve tested 100% of suspects in just 17 days if we would’ve utilised all government labs,” he said.

Further, the Congress leader strongly condemned the KCR Government for not allowing nine private laboratories like Apollo Hospitals, Vijaya Diagnostics, etc., to conduct COVID-19 although they have been permitted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). He said that the State Government did not frame the local guidelines to allow private labs to conduct COVID-19 tests.

He said that the Supreme Court, in its recent order, clearly stated that the COVID-19 tests should be conduct free of cost and State Government should bear the entire cost. “Is KCR afraid of additional financial burden if more tests are conducted?” he asked.

Narayana Reddy said that the Coronavirus crisis emerged only a few days after the presentation of budget for 2020-21 in which KCR Government made tall claims on State’s financial situation. However, just one week after the lockdown, CM KCR indirectly declared bankruptcy and announced 50% cut in salaries and pensions.

“CM KCR must specify the reasons why his government was not allowing tests at a large scale. Either his government does not have money to conduct more tests or he is afraid that the number of cases might increase if all suspects or vulnerable groups undergo test,” he said.

He advised that the State Government should bear the cost for COVID-19 test for poor and middle-class and those who could afford it, would pay for the tests on their own. Demanding that all ICMR’s approved labs be permitted to conduct tests, he said that the Congress party might approach the court in this regard.

The Congress leader clarified that his party was not indulging in politics. “We are only giving constructive suggestions to the government in the interest of common people. TRS, in its manifesto for 2014 elections, had promised one Super Speciality Hospital in each district headquarter.

Having failed to establish a single hospital in the last six-and-a-half years, KCR is trying to highlight conversion of Gachibowli Stadium into a hospital as an achievement. He is openly cheating the common people,” he said.

Narayana Reddy said that the entire population of Telangana has been religiously honouring the lockdown to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Thousands of people in 292 Containment Zones are not venturing out of their doorsteps. Every citizen is displaying total commitment to beat the Coronavirus. Common people have been giving several sacrifices in combat against COVID-19. CM KCR, who claims to have read over 80,000 books, should apply his wisdom and follow the 3-T norm of ‘Trace, Test and Treat’ to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus,” he said.

“Why we can’t test entire population in 292 Containment Zones? Is KCR waiting for some strong symptoms among suspects to conduct tests? Is it not advisable to test someone for the disease before his/her condition deteriorates further?” he asked. (INN)

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