Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Monday directed the government to publish vital data pertaining to Covid-19 cases on the front pages of all leading daily newspapers and upload it on the Internet to enlighten citizens about the rampant spread of the disease.
It is imperative that people should be made aware that the spread of the pandemic is increasing, a division bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy observed.
The court directed that the government to publicise the number of samples collected, tested, positive cases, number of contacts traced, number of persons sent to quarantine in state-run institutions, admissions and discharged Covid-19 patients in each of the hospitals.
The bench said the government had not implemented its orders delivered in April and May on Covid-19 and threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against the principal secretary for medical and health, and Dr G. Srinivas Rao, director of public health.
The court was dealing with a PIL filed by Amrita Aryendra from Hyderabad, who was aggrieved that the government was not parting with such vital information to its citizens when other states were doing so.
Chief Justice Chauhan observed, “Suppressing such information from citizens would only aggravate the situation as the disease will only spread its wings and this may lead to a medical disaster.”
“Yesterday, I believe 206 cases have been detected. Despite the increase in the number, and doctors being adversely affected, the government bulletin suppresses facts and figures from the public,” he observed.
The Chief Justice enquired from Dr Srinivas Rao what was happening at the Gandhi Hospital as media reports said the conditions were horrible. “How do you expect anyone to survive and come out of the hospital,” he said, expressing doubts over hygiene and other conditions thre.
The judge said the government had not commenced testing on dead bodies for the Coronavirus, it has not yet stepped up testing people. If this trend contnues, officials have to face the contempt. “By now, it should have been implemented and because of your carelessness and negligence, the government is promoting Covid-19 spike. If this is the attitude of the government, then where do we go,” Justice Chauhan asked.
Dr Srinivas Rao said tests were carried out on bodies as per ICMR guidelines. He said 900 people die in the state everyday, and the tests were conducted only on some bodies. “Every day, 1,000 tests are being conducted out of which we are getting 160 cases. Due to the easing of lockdown curbs, there is a spike in Corona cases,” he said.
To this, the Chief Justice said, “what the government seems to be trying to do, you are equally guilty because you are an accomplice... you are keeping everything under the carpet. The fact is that our people are dying, the doctors and the medical staff are affected with Coronavirus as sufficient PPEs, gloves and N95 masks are not provided to them. 72 doctors are down with Corona and 400 medical and health workers have been sent to quarantine. Our first line of defence is affected with Corona.”
The government was directed to file a report by June 18.