Former Andhra Pradesh Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pydikondala Manikyala Rao (59), died of COVID-19 on Saturday. Rao served as Endowments Minister between 2014 and 2018 in the N Chandrababu Naidu-led government after the birfurcation of the state.
On July 4, Rao had announced on social media that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. A week ago, he was shifted to a private hospital in Vijayawada. For the past few days, he was on ventilator support.
Condoling the death, Andhra BJP president Somu Veerraju recalled his services to the state. "He joined the party in 1989 and climbed up the ranks. He earned praise from all sections of society as a legislator, minister and a party member," Veerraju told IANS.
Rao was elected from the Tadepalligudem seat in the 2014, when the BJP contested the Assembly polls in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and actor-politician Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party (JSP).
Rao had last tweeted on July 25, when he asked well-wishers not to worry about his health and that he would overcome the disease. On the same day, he had tweeted his wishes hoping for a speedy recovery to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who has also tested positive for the coronavirus.
Andhra Pradesh has witnessed a meteoric rise in the numbers related to COVID-19 in less than a fortnight as the state has now climbed to the third spot behind Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu in the country. From March 12 when it reported the first coronavirus case, AP took a long time till June 24 to go past the 10,000 mark and July 20 to cross 50,000 total cases, but the aggregate rocketed to 1,50,209 by August 1.
In just the last 13 days, the state registered a staggering 96,485 cases with 39,912 coming in only the past four days. By July 20, a total of 13,49,112 tests were conducted with a positivity rate of 3.98%. But the infection positivity rate shot up to 7.46% on August 1 with the addition of just 6,63,461 tests in 13 days. The government has maintained that the increase in cases was due to more number of tests being conducted.
From July 20 to August 1, the state also saw the COVID-19 death toll jump from 696 to 1,407, an increase of 711, while the number of active cases rose by 43,388 after 52,386 patients recovered from the disease. The COVID-19 recovery rate improved from 45.10% to 51% during the period while the mortality rate dipped from 1.30% to 0.94%, despite the spurt in number of deaths.
Government authorities attributed the exponential surge in COVID-19 virulence in AP to those coming from other states and countries after Unlock 1.0, but the last such cases (10) were reported on July 17.
Of the 13 districts in the state, seven crossed the 10,000 mark each in the total number of COVID-19 cases as on August 1, with East Godavari topping the chart with 21,271. Incidentally,
With IANS and PTI inputs