Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao appealed to people not to panic over the COVID-19 pandemic as the State government was taking all measures to contain the virus and also was fully-equipped to provide necessary treatment. He had sanctioned a contingency fund of Rs 100 crore in addition to the general budget allocations made to the Medical and Health department, keeping the funds at the disposal of Health Minister Eatala Rajender and Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar for any emergency purchases in fight against the Coronavirus.
The Chief Minister also directed the officials to increase the salaries of doctors and nurses, besides extending the 10 per cent additional salary as COVID-19 incentive to all the employees of the Medical and Health department including the outsourcing employees. The COVID-19 incentive to the police personnel and also sanitation staff working in urban and rural local bodies, also will be continued further. He also wanted the officials to ensure that there was no shortage for Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and Favilavir medicines under any circumstances by keeping adequate stocks.
At a high-level meeting on COVID-19 held at Pragathi Bhavan on Friday, Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao urged people not to panic over the COVID-19 pandemic and instead, take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. He suggested that those infected with the virus need not spend their hard-earned money for treatment in private hospitals as the government hospitals and also the staff were ready to provide better services to any number of patients.
He also warned the private hospitals to maintain transparency in availability of beds. “Stern action will be taken against those who are creating an artificial scarcity for beds in private hospitals. Every hospital should display in public about the number of beds and their availability, besides informing the same to the State government at regular intervals,” he asserted.
Further, the Chief Minister pointed out that the entire world was severely affected duo to the Coronavirus. However, the recovery rate in the State is far high and the death rate is far lower than the national average. As on Thursday, 41,018 persons were tested positive for COVID-19 and about 27,295 patients (67 per cent) have recovered and got discharged. Another 9,636 asymptomatic patients are in home quarantine. There are 3,692 patients undergoing treatment for COVID-19 in different government hospitals across the State.
The condition of only 200 of these patients who have comorbidities, is said to be severe, while all others are recovering. The State government is also monitoring the health condition of even asymptomatic COVID-19 patients as per the COVID-19 protocol and providing them necessary treatment.
Chandrashekhar Rao pointed out that the unlock process was in progress across the country and people were coming out of their homes for work. He stated that the Centre was even planning to operate international flights. “We have no option but co-exist with Coronavirus by taking adequate precautions like personal hygiene, wearing masks, frequent handwashing and usage of sanitisers. I request people to stay put at their homes and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary,” he urged.
Reiterating that the State government was fully prepared to provide necessary treatment to COVID-19 patients in government hospitals, the Chief Minister pointed out that the State government made all arrangements to fight the virus since the preliminary stages even as the Centre was in confusion. About 5,000 beds with oxygen facility have been readied in government hospitals across the State with 3,000 of them being available at Gandhi Hospital along with Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (TIMS). In all, around 10,000 beds have been exclusively made available for Coronavirus patients in government hospitals across the State. Of these, about 1,500 beds are equipped with ventilators.
“We have kept lakhs of PPE kits and N95 masks ready, while there is no shortage of medicines and other equipment. The doctors and other medical staff are rendering great services. People need not get worry over silly allegations and instead, move forward with self-confidence. Medical personnel should focus more on providing effective treatment to the public,” he added.
Chandrashekhar Rao also urged people need not get treatment at private hospitals by paying hefty fee and instead, get quality treatment at government hospitals at free of cost. “Anyone with symptoms should immediately approach the nearest government hospital to seek medical advice and get treatment. Arrangements have been made to provide COVID-19 treatment in all government hospitals from the primary healthcare centre (PHC) level in the State. To prevent the spread of corona, the government is ready to spend whatever it can to provide better treatment to those infected with the virus,” he stated.
Further, the Chief Minister decided to implement UGS scale salaries for the faculty working in the government medical colleges. He also decided to pay salaries to the newly appointed nurses on par with the old employees. He also directed the authorities to increase the retirement age limit of faculty members working in the AYUSH departments/teaching hospitals to 65 years. He instructed them to fill all 200 vacant doctor posts in the PHC across the State, beside taking measures to recruit 1,200 PG doctors who passed out recently. He thanked the medical staff for their services in prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Health Minister Eetala Rajender, Panchayati Raj Minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Principal Secretary for Medical and Health Murtaza Rizvi, CMO Principal Secretary S Narsing Rao, Secretary Rajasekhar Reddy and other officials.