Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender on Friday admitted that there was shortage of medical oxygen in the state, and that the government was taking all steps to tide over the problem triggered by the massive COVID-19 surge. However, the minister has also ruled out lockdown, curfew or imposition of Section 144 in the state.
Stating that the second wave is more intense than the one seen last year, he appealed to people to be alert and take all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID. He advised people to venture out of their houses only if it is necessary.
Talking to reporters after inaugurating a paddy procurement centre at Huzurabad in Karimnagar district, he said the state administration under the leadership of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was working to contain the spread of COVID-19. He said people should follow the suggestions and guidelines being issued by the authorities from time to time to check the pandemic.
Telangana on Friday reported 3,840 cases, the highest single-day spike since the pandemic broke out last year. The minister said the numbers could further go up. Warning the private hospitals against charging more money from COVID-19 patients, he said nothing was more condemnable than people making money from the helpless situation of patients approaching private hospitals during the pandemic. He urged the private hospitals to display a humane approach towards patients.
Rajender said the number of people taking COVID-19 vaccine in the state has gone up but noted that the supply of vaccine doses is not in tune with the demand. He revealed that he has suggested to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to vaccinate all those above 25 years of age, and while the Union minister responded positively, he did not give any assurance.
Meanwhile, state health authorities on Friday announced that the state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad has been converted into COVID only hospital. All non-COVID patients undergoing treatment at the hospital will be shifted to other government-run hospitals in the city. The Health Department has ordered Gandhi Hospital to stop out-patient (OP) service from Saturday. The hospital was also told to stop all elective surgeries.
According to officials, one COVID-19 patient is approaching Gandhi Hospital every 10 minutes. On Thursday, 150 COVID-19 patients were admitted. Currently, more than 450 COVID-19 patients are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Gandhi Hospital is the biggest state-run tertiary care hospital in the state. Last year, it served as the state COVID nodal centre and as a COVID only facility. It started treating other patients towards the end of last year after the pandemic was under control.