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    Telangana to resume Covid-19 tests amid top lawmakers testing positive

    Synopsis

    The move comes at a time when the Centre has raised red flags over the ‘high positives-low tests’ scenario in Telangana and sent a union health ministry team on Sunday to Hyderabad, which saw India’s second highest positive rate at 32.1% on June 23.

    Agencies
    3 members of the Legislative Assembly belonging to the ruling TRS were affected by covid to date, while Telangana DY CM first minister to have been tested positive
    Coronavirus

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    HYDERABAD: Telangana government, which had suspended Covid tests citing capacity constraints, has on Monday decided to resume the tests through government labs amid rising coronavirus spread that affected several ruling party lawmakers, including the state deputy chief minister and home minister.

    The move comes at a time when the Centre has raised red flags over the ‘high positives-low tests’ scenario in Telangana and sent a union health ministry team on Sunday to Hyderabad, which saw India’s second highest positive rate at 32.1% on June 23.

    The decision to resume Covid tests also comes at a time when the friendly political outfit All India Majlis-e-Ittahadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) also mounting pressure on the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to increase the tests.

    In a letter addressed to the health minister Etela Rajender on Saturday, the AIMIM floor leader in the Telangana Legislative Assembly Akbar Uddin Owaisi urged to conduct at least 20,000 tests in the Hyderabad Parliament constituency represented by his party.

    Raising serious concerns over the sharp rise in number of Covid-19 positive cases and unavailability of hospital beds to treat them in Hyderabad, the union junior home minister G Kishan Reddy on Monday spoke to Telangana chief secretary and other top bureaucrats. He also advised the Telangana government to introduce a comprehensive database-enabled toll free numbers to help the patients to access information on the availability of testing centres and hospital beds for treatment, citing media reports of patients desperately running around the hospitals for treatment.

    However, claiming to be strictly adhering to the guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Telangana health minister Rajender on Monday advised the asymptomatic persons not to queue up before the testing centres.

    Amid news that Telangana deputy chief minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali was tested positive for Covid-19 and got admitted into a private hospital, the health minister said hundreds of frontline warriors were getting affected by the virus. In all, 184 police and 257 healthcare staff were tested positive for Covid-19 so far, he said.

    Among the lawmakers, three members of the Legislative Assembly belonging to the ruling TRS were affected by coronavirus to date, while Ali is the first minister to have been tested positive for Covid-19 after participating in public gatherings.

    Perturbed over rising Covid-19 cases in Telangana in general and capital city Hyderabad in particular over the last few days, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao Sunday said his government was weighing options to impose lockdown in Hyderabad.

    CM Rao indicated that a decision to reimpose lockdown may also involve shutting down services of flights and trains and stricter curfew throughout the day with one or two hours of relaxations during the ensuing round of fortnightly lockdown.

    The union government has recently raised serious concerns after Telangana reported India’s highest positive rate at 27.7% and the country’s lowest number of tests per million population at a mere 14,690 from June 10-23. Though the state has of late increased the number of daily tests, mostly thanks to the private sector participation, the total number of tests to date stands less than a lakh at 82,458 tests by June 28.

    In a clear contract, the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh has set up dozens of testing centres and had conducted over 8.72 lakh tests so far, considered one of the highest in the country.

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