Telangana High Court pulls up state over spurt in Covid-19 cases

Deccan Chronicle.  | Vujjini Vamshidhara

Nation, Current Affairs

The court chided the state over the nod it gave to opening up commercial activities, malls, cinemas without imposing Covid restrictions

The court sought to know from Advocate General B.S. Prasad why the government was focusing on RAT rather than RT-PCR. — DC file photo

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Tuesday pulled up the state government over the spurt in Covid-19 cases, given its failure to step up RT-PCR tests as was suggested by the court earlier.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy was dealing with the PILs seeking directions to the government to effectively contain the Coronavirus disease.

The court chided the government over the nod it gave to opening up commercial activities, malls, cinema halls, bars, pubs, congregations and gatherings without imposing any Covid-19 restrictions. 

The High Court has been monitoring the pandemic situation by getting status reports regularly. Based on these reports, as also news reports and reports of laxities brought before it by the petitioners, the court has directed the government to rectify the lapses.

On Tuesday, the bench was irritated with the status report filed by the Director of Public Health and termed it as “sweeping and misleading.” Despite the orders issued by the court, the government had not stepped up Covid-19 testing through RT-PCR, it said. The report had 406 enclosures.

Out of the 9,11,661 Covid-19 tests done in the state, 7,63,136 were done through RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) whereas only 1,48,525 tests were done through RT-PCR, the court noted.

The court sought to know from Advocate General B.S. Prasad why the government was focusing on RAT rather than RT-PCR. It gave the government 48 hours to come up with the reasons for not doing RT-PCR tests.

Finding fault with the government for not arranging more vaccination centers for the public, CJ Kohli directed government to inform it why the Covid-19 vaccination is not being administered round the clock, as the entire country is grappling with a second wave of the Coronavirus.

The court made it clear that if the orders are not complied with by the state, the court will issue directions. It observed that the state should not treat this as adversarial litigation because “this is a matter which concerned each and every one of us and the health of people of the state.”

The court said the report should contain information on Covid-19 positive cases and mortality rate, as also the number of micro containment zones created district-wise, the efforts made to conduct sero-surveillance by the government in the districts where there is a spurt in Covid-19 cases, the nature of testing that is being done at construction sites, airports, inter-state bus terminal, ports and railway stations.

The bench also directed the government to state the reasons for not imposing restrictions on the public gatherings during marriages, death ceremonies, besides festivities and the nature of restrictions that have been placed on the occupancy rate in cinema halls, malls, hotels, pubs, bars, etc.

The PILs were adjourned to April 8 for further hearing.