Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on 11 May directed the state police to allow COVID-19 patients seeking treatment in Telangana to enter the state. Prohibition should only be executed after issuing an advisory with an advance warning, the court said. This comes after several ambulances with COVID-19 patients were stopped at border check-posts and denied entry into Telangana.
On Tuesday, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vijaysen Reddy took cognizance of the matter following media reports. "You can't stop patients from entering the state. Hyderabad is a medical hub. Stopping patients is a violation of articles 15 and 21 of the Constitution. Telangana is denying entry of patients/ambulances at its borders which is extremely inhumane," the Bench observed.
On 10 May, the Telangana government had set up checkpoints at districts bordering neighbouring states. These points were manned by the state police and health and revenue department officials. The team inspected ambulances entering the state and even sent back as many as 50 of them. A majority of the patients were from states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Chattisgarh who were seeking treatment in Hyderabad.
These checkpoints were set up at Ramapuram of Kodad mandal in Suryapet district and at Pulluru toll gate in Gadwal district. A senior police officer told NewsMeter, "Borders were put under watch since there is a mounting pressure on the state's health infrastructure. Case studies have proven that many states are blocking hospital beds for more than 15 days. However, critical patients were allowed on day one.
These checks were to tighten the entry of a large number of COVID patients from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh besides other states in the wake of increasing demand for hospital beds from local residents in the city hospitals. Ambulances with COVID patients who did not have confirmed hospital admissions in Hyderabad hospitals were sent back."
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had earlier pointed out that Hyderabad has become a medical hub and people from neighboring states are visiting the city for medical services. He had explained that the influx of people from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and other states to Hyderabad for COVID treatment has increased the burden on Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, Officials of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have clarified that RT-PCR test is not must once the patient recovers. "No testing required for recovered individuals at the time of hospital discharge. No need for RTPCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel, the latest order said.