The deadlock between protesting doctors at the Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad and the Telangana government continued for a third day, with the parties failing to reach an agreement as of Thursday night.
The junior doctors had gone on a flash strike on Tuesday night after relatives of a COVID-19 patient attacked a doctor following the former's death at the hospital. Police have already arrested two persons involved in the attack.
More than 300 junior doctors have been on strike, demanding tight security for healthcare professionals treating COVID-19 patients, and decentralisation of Gandhi Hospital as the nodal centre for COVID-19 treatment among others.
The Telangana Junior Doctors' Association (TJUDA) decided to continue the strike following the failure of talks with Health Minister Eatala Rajender.
While the Minister agreed to their demands of increasing security and taking up other issues raised by them with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the state reportedly does not want to decentralise COVID-19 treatment and said that there were only around 300 active cases being treated in the hospital at present. Several asymptomatic patients had been discharged and kept under quarantine earlier this week.
The officials had announced late Wednesday that the doctors called off their strike after the minister promised to consider all their demands. However, TJUDA vowed to continue the strike till concrete steps are taken on their demands.
The strike by medicos, however, has not affected the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Professors and faculty members ensured continuation of services.
Gandhi Hospital is the nodal hospital for COVID-19 cases in Telangana and TJUDA is demanding that the patients be treated in other hospitals as well.
Meanwhile, in one of the biggest ever single-day jumps, Telangana reported 209 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, pushing the state's tally to 4,320.
The state also continued to see a surge in fatalities. Nine deaths were reported in a 24-hour period ending at 5 pm on Thursday. The death toll mounted to 165.
Barring one, all COVID-19 cases reported were locals. The virus spread continued unabated in the jurisdiction of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) as it accounted for 175 of the new cases.
The remaining cases were reported from 11 other districts including Medchal and Ranga Reddy, which border Hyderabad and include large parts of Secunderabad and Cyberabad.
According to the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, 1,993 people have so far recovered and been discharged. The number of active cases stands at 2,162.