Hyderabad: Telangana High Court on Tuesday took the state government to task for failure to ramp up RT-PCR testing.
The court also pointed out that the people are turning up in large numbers for funerals and weddings, posing a major threat to public health. It also expressed displeasure against the government for not doing enough RT-PCR tests.
The court pointed out that more rapid antigen tests (RAT), are conducted in the state, which is not reliable. The court said RTPCR tests did not comprise even 10 percent of the total tests. The court asked the state to inform what action is being taken against those who flagrantly violated Covid-19 protocols and how much fine has been imposed on the lawbreakers.
The court noted that out of the 9,11,661 Covid 19 tests done in the state, 7,63,136 were done through Rapid Antigen Test, whereas only 1,48,525 tests were done through RT-PCR.
Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy were dealing with the PILs seeking directions to the government to effectively contain the Coronavirus pandemic. The court asked what is the government doing to control the assembly of people at marriages and funerals.
Noting that the court would be compelled to issue orders to check the pandemic if the government failed to act, the bench said that it is not for them to run the state.
The High Court has been monitoring the pandemic situation by getting status reports regularly. The bench was irritated with the status report filed by the Director of Public Health and termed it as sweeping and misleading. The court asked it to submit a report within 48 hours on measures taken to combat the pandemic.
The state government submitted a 400- page report, as previously directed by the court, in which it said that about nine lakh people have been tested for Covid-19 so far. The government said it has shut schools and colleges to prevent its spread. The report, which listed out measures taken in the last 15 days, also pointed out that it had issued a G.O. making wearing masks mandatory.
The court also asked the government why there was no 24/7 vaccination. The Court instructed the state government to file a fresh status report on COVID19 in the backdrop of the second wave.
The bench said the government should not treat this as adversarial litigation since it involved the health of people. "Why not arrange vaccination centers for people within 100 yards at all places instead of confining only to government and private hospitals. There need not be any holiday for vaccination," the bench said.
The bench wanted the government to give wide publicity to all vaccination center locations through social media platforms. It wondered why restrictions were not imposed on the number of visitors at bars, pubs, malls, and movie theatres.