By LE Desk

Hyderabad, April 24: The Telangana High Court has instructed the State government to file a report explaining its preparedness to administer vaccination to all persons above 18 years of age from May 1 in light of the Centre’s announcement.

A bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy yesterday directed the Principal Home Secretary to file a status report by Tuesday with details of how it was planning administration of vaccine to inmates of prisons and old age homes along with the destitute in shelter homes and open places. The plan of action should be presented to the court by Monday, The Hindu reported.

When the Health Secretary sought time since the data needed to be gathered from district Collectors, the bench said: “Why cannot the administration work when this court is working late in the night to hand over its orders to the State so that it can implement the directions?” Chief Justice Hima Kohli said the First Court (bench headed by CJ) would work during summer vacation and keep tab on steps taken by the State to address people’s woes during the pandemic. “…because lives of the citizen and their health are important to the court”, the CJ said.

The bench expressed dissatisfaction over the government not stepping up the percentage of RT-PCR tests despite specific direction issued during the previous hearing. Barring GHMC and surrounding districts, RT-PCR tests were done on much lower scale. In majority of the districts, Rapid Antigen tests (RaT) constituted 80% of tests, the bench said. Expressing concern over the recent 198 deaths due to COVID-19 in past few days, the bench directed the government to ramp up RT-PCR tests in Nirmal, Nizamabads, Yadadri Bhongir, Mancherial and Kama Reddy districts.

The bench directed the government to publicise the steps taken by government to provide medication to Kumbh Mela returnees. It wanted the government to furnish details of persons manning 108 and 104 call centres, number of ambulances earmarked to attend to the patients, details of calls received per day. Referring to the government orders on gathering of people at malls, inside cinema halls and other public places in November, 2020 cannot be accepted in the present situation of witnessing high incidence of COVID-19 positive cases.

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