Hyderabad, September 4: Observing that the tally of nine to 10 deaths daily due to COVID-19 given by the State government were ‘unbelievable’, Telangana High Court on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over the government reports on spread of coronavirus in the State.
Giving a slew of fresh directions, the HC sought to know why the State government was not complying with earlier orders given by it, The Hindu reported. A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, hearing a batch of PIL pleas related to COVID-19, said the reports given by the government were vague and incomplete.
The government report said it issued notices to 38 hospitals while complaints were received against 161 hospitals. But it did not specifically explain to which hospitals notices were sent, the bench observed. Government allotted lands to three private hospitals at concessional rates which were supposed to treat poor patients freely to some extent. Why was the government not ready to reveal their names, the CJ asked.
“Sorry… the government is not ready to take action against erring private hospitals,” the bench said. Referring to Health Minister’s statement that government would take over 50% of beds in private hospital, the bench remarked no concrete steps seem to have been taken in that direction.
It was not sufficient to say that private hospitals had agreed to give beds. There should be clear agreements and understandings on such crucial decisions, the bench said.
The bench directed Advocate General B.S. Prasad to give a report on the action taken by government on earlier directions of the HC on COVID -related petitions. It directed the government to conduct an inquiry by National Pharmaceutical Price Authority into excessive charges being collected by private hospitals.
The report should be submitted by September 22. There are no details as to how many tests were conducted in private hospitals and how many of them tested positive for the virus in the reports given by the government.
While 62,200 tests were conducted on August 28, the figure nosedived to 37,000 on August 30. Why such a steep fall, the bench sought to know. The Centre announced that nearly 80% of medical fraternity attending on COVID patients contracted the virus.
But the State government did not provide any details as to how many medical staff and doctors contracted the virus, the bench said. Reminding the officials that India was the second country in the world with high number of coronavirus cases, the bench said focus should be on holding more tests.