The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed state health authorities to conduct COVID-19 tests on those coming from other states. The HC has also suggested that only those who have undergone RT-PCR tests should be allowed into the state.
The High Court’s orders came in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases, especially in the districts bordering Maharashtra, which is witnessing a massive spike.
The court also asked the government to constitute a committee of experts to suggest measures to check the spread of COVID-19. It observed that while the state may not impose a lockdown, it should create containment zones wherever cases were detected to check the spread of the virus.
On the direction of the court two days ago, the Health Department submitted its report on testing and treatment while the Director General of Police submitted a report on action taken against the violators of COVID-19 guidelines.
The DGP, in his report, informed the court that 22,000 cases were booked against those violating for safety guidelines. The report said that 2,416 cases were booked for not following physical distancing, and six cases for spitting on roads.
The court expressed surprise that only 1.16 lakh people were fined for not following the COVID-19 guidelines, observing that action against those not following guidelines is only for name sake.
A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy once again voiced its displeasure over fewer RT-PCR tests at a time when the second wave of the pandemic is sweeping across the country. It asked the health authorities to increase RT-PCR tests to 70% of all COVID-19 tests as per guidelines issued by the Union government.
The court expressed concern over crowds at liquor shops, bars, pubs and cinema theatres, remarking that the liquor shops have turned into potential sources for the spread of the virus. It directed that criminal cases be booked against those wine shops, pubs, bars and restaurants violating COVID-19 guidelines and their license be cancelled.
The court also asked the health authorities to ensure that physical distancing is followed at the meetings of political parties and marriages. The Health Department informed the court that sero surveillance will be completed in six weeks, and the court asked it to submit the report.
The court also wanted the government to spell out its plans for giving COVID-19 vaccine to various groups of beneficiaries, especially inmates of old age homes. It directed the government to provide details of the number of doses received by the state, doses administered, wastage etc. The court asked the government to submit a report by April 14 and adjourned the hearing to April 19.