Hyderabad: Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, the Telangana High Court on 19 April directed the state government to take a call on imposing night curfew or weekend lockdown to check the spread of the virus.

"If the government does not act on this in the next 48 hours, the court will pass orders," said the court.

Expressing displeasure with the way the state is handling the situation, the HC said that an affidavit filed by the state government in connection with a PIL on COVID-19 was "disappointing" and asked if the state was "contending for the position of COVID-19 topper in the country".

The court questioned why no action has been taken to reduce traffic movement and reduce congestion in cinema halls, pubs, and bars.

A Bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy said they are unhappy with the affidavit as it does not contain any details like measures to check footfall in cinema halls and other public places. The chief justice asked, "What are you going to make of the people of the state….sitting ducks?"

The Bench said the government was harping on checking international passengers but was "beautifully silent" on its measures to control persons entering the state through bus and railway stations and private vehicles.

The Chief Justice specifically wanted to know if the state government had issued any circulars to check footfall in cinema halls, banquet halls, malls, and public places which are witnessing large congregations. The judge also sought the government's response over reports of hospitals not admitting persons who tested positive for coronavirus unless their condition was critical.

Meanwhile, Telangana reported 4,009 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday taking the overall tally to 3,55,433 in the state.

The state reported forteen new deaths on April 18 taking the overall toll to 1,838. The fatality rate in the state is 0.51 percent which is less than the national average of 1.2 percent.

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area on Sunday reported 705 new cases. Neighboring Rangareddy district reported 336 new cases. Medchal Malkajgiri reported 363 and Sangareddy 264 new cases.

Other districts of Telangana are also seeing a surge in cases. Nizamabad on Sunday reported 360 new cases while Kamareddy reported 115 cases, Jagtial reported 175 cases. Warangal Urban 146 cases, Mahaboobnagar 129 cases, Khammam 113 cases, Karimnagar 135 cases, Siddipet 125 cases, Mancherial reported 111 cases, Nirmal 90 cases and Nalgonda 58 cases.

Around 15 citizens recovered from the infection on Sunday taking total recoveries to 3,14,441 in the state. The recovery rate, as per the government, now stands at 88.46 percent, which is approximately two percent higher than the national average of 86 percent.

The state has 39,154 active cases currently. The state health department has removed the column of under home isolation patients from the medical bulle

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