Hyderabad: Days after the state health department issued a fiat to its staff at the Covid-19 testing centres to limit the number of tests daily, it pulled up the same staff for revealing the truth about the actual extent of Covid-19 cases in Telangana state.
In a message in their departmental, and sometimes compartmentalised WhatsApp groups based on functional responsibilities, a ‘final warning’ has been issued to testing centre staff, particularly at primary health centres, not to reveal any testing results.
In one such message, a district medical and health officer (DMHO) said, “INSTRUCTIONS OF DMHO: Dear Mos (Medical Officers) please see that no information is given to anybody on rat tests (sic) (Rapid Antigen Tests) and positives. In spite of repeated instructions, many of PHCs (Primary Health Centres) are giving information on results. Please follow the instructions of DMHO, otherwise action will be initiated. This is the last and final warning. Thank u.” (sic)
While a person getting the test done is expected to be informed of the result, the instructions appear to be directed to prevent media personnel, or others, including workers of political parties, NGOs and the like at the ground level from assessing the true Covid-19 situation. For long, the Telangana government has been accused by Opposition parties of hiding the real Covid-19 picture in the state and the Telangana High Court too had repeatedly pulled up the state on this issue.
It may be recalled that on Wednesday, the state government had claimed that the Covid-19 situation was under control and the cases were showing a downward trend. Meanwhile, the government also said that anyone with symptoms should be considered to be Covid-19 positive and be given medicines.
Previously, as reported by this newspaper on May 2 with the headline ‘Covid testing in health centres restricted’, Telangana State restricted daily testing at all its testing centres, saying only 50 tests per day should be conducted at each Primary Health Centre and Urban Health Centre, while at Community Health Centres, only 100 tests should be done each day. The highest number of daily tests – 200 – will be conducted at the district general hospitals.