Hyderabad, June 21 (IANS) With each passing day, the number of COVID-19 cases in Telangana is reaching a new high and sending the alarm bells ringing in the top echelons of the state administration.
The first COVID-19 case in the state was reported on March 2 and since then there has been a steady increase in numbers.
It was after 57 days, that is on April 26 that the state crossed 1,000 cases mark. It took another month for the next 1,000 cases but within a week the state added 1,000.
It was on June 3 that the state crossed 3,000 mark but such has been the surge since then that this figure doubled in a matter of 15 days.
The state added 1,045 cases in the last two days -- 499 on Friday and 546 on Saturday. As many as 1,859 people tested positive since Tuesday.
Telangana also crossed 200 fatalities on Saturday, making it the ninth state in the country to pass that figure. It is at 13th position among states in total number of COVID-19 caes.
While the authorities have been claiming that Telangana is in much better position compared to states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and others, the massive surge over the last one week and huge jump in daily cases has sparked apprehensions that it may overtake some states in the coming days.
Telangana was one of the first states to impose the lockdown and kept things largely under control with strict enforcement. However, the surge after the relaxation in the lockdown upset all its calculations.
The officials in the health department point out that every time the government felt that it had contained the spread, a new problem cropped up.
In the initial phase, it was the arrival of people from abroad which kept the authorities on tenterhooks. By screening the passengers at the airport, testing those with suspected symptoms and by sending others to quarantine, the authorities were able to keep things under control.
The next wave came towards the end of March when returnees from Tablighi Jamaat conclave in Delhi were found infected. Health Minister Eatala Rajender had stated on April 16 that 640 out of 700 tested positive so far had Tablighi link.
Even in the beginning of May, the average daily jump was 20-30 cases. However, the surge began with relaxations in the lockdown. The number of infections rose with the return of migrant workers from other states and those who were evacuated/deported from abroad.
As the cases were largely confined to Greater Hyderabad, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao was still confident of containing the spread. However, the intra-state and inter-state movement of people and the greater mobility with the resumption of some economic activity led to the spread in the districts as well.
Under attack from the opposition for low testing, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government blamed the relaxations given by the Centre for the upsurge.
"The BJP leaders, who were shouting that the state government has failed in containing the spread of coronavirus, should go and ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi why relaxations were being given," said Telangana minister Srinivas Yadav.
The latest surge began with the launch of 50,000 tests in Greater Hyderabad, the biggest hotspot and surrounding districts from Tuesday.
The government on June 14 announced that 50,000 tests will be conducted in 30 Assembly constituencies in Greater Hyderabad and surrounding districts over the next week to 10 days. The process began on Tuesday with authorities collecting samples from containment zones and high risk groups.
In the words of Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, the objective was to give confidence to people in view of apprehensions voiced in some quarters that because of low number of tests being conducted the real situation is not coming out.
"We want to give confidence to people that there is no problem," the top bureaucrat had said.
Following some critical observations made by the High Court, the state government this week also allowed the private hospitals and labs to conduct COVID-19 tests.
With every passing day setting a new record of the steepest jump in number of cases, the worst fears being voiced by opposition parties and a section of activists and NGOs may be coming true.
Facing criticism for not being transparent in sharing information with regard to tests, the government stated releasing daily figures of the test conducted.
According to the director of public health, 3,185 tests were conducted on Saturday. While no figures were available for Friday, 2,477 tests were conducted the previous day.
The state has so far conducted 53,757 cases which critics say is low compared to many other states of the equal population.
The Opposition believes that it stands vindicated over the issue. Main opposition Congress has even demanded the government to declare a health emergency in Hyderabad and surrounding districts.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: IANS