Telangana Health Minister on the Corona pandemic challenge

With over 800 Corona positive cases, Telangana is one of the states in India, causing much concern. Its capital Hyderabad, in particular, is a major hotspot. 

T S Sudhir of Filter Kaapi Live spoke to Eatala Rajender, Health minister of Telangana, on the challenges he and his ministry have faced in the last couple of months. 

T S Sudhir : What is worry, Mr Minister, is that the numbers in Telangana are steadily increasing, above 50-60 daily on an average. How worried are you as the Health minister of Telangana?

Eatala Rajender : When we successfully traced all the foreign returnees and their contacts, we thought we have Covid 19 under control in Telangana. 

Sudhir : Yes, the CM of Telangana expressed the hope that the state could be Corona-free by 7 April.

Rajender : Yes. But then came the disclosure about those who had returned from Markaz in Nizamuddin in Delhi. The numbers were significant. We have identified and tested all 1247 who returned from Delhi. While those who tested positive are with us, those who did not test positive are in home quarantine till 21 April. 

Sudhir : So you are saying all those who travelled to Delhi have been identified. But the bigger threat, as we are seeing on the ground, is the number of primary contacts these 1247 people have been in touch with. 

Rajender : They were all staying as part of big families in small homes. 2593 people had come into contact with these 1247 who had returned from Nizamuddin. With the help of effective containment measures, we have limited the damage. Of these 2593, those who tested positive are with us in hospitals, those who did not test positive are in Home Quarantine till 28 April. 

Sudhir : Would it be fair to assume that the spike in cases in Telangana have been on account of those who returned from Delhi and their contacts.

Rajender : I will only state the numbers. Of the 840 cases so far, 693 are those with a Delhi travel history and their contacts. 

Sudhir : That translates to 82 per cent. The big worry is Hyderabad which has emerged as a major hotspot. 

Rajender : The maximum cases are in Hyderabad. In addition, districts like Nizamabad, Nirmal, Gadwal, Vikarabad, Karimnagar also have reported cases. 

Health Minister Eatala Rajender (left) with Industry minister KT Rama Rao

Sudhir : Suryapet district has suddenly burst on the radar as well with over 40 Corona positive cases. What led to that?

Rajender : We have reports of about four persons with a Delhi travel history travelling to Suryapet. 

Sudhir : Didn’t the inability to track the Markaz returnees quickly, particularly in the old city area of Hyderabad, suggest a failure on part of the community leaders and the political machinery of different parties at the ward and mohalla level?

Rajender : On the contrary, everyone got involved – the government machinery, political representatives, community leaders. We worked together effectively.

Sudhir : Given the situation, do you think it will be difficult to relax the lockdown from next week or may be even lift it on 3 May?

Rajender : In Telangana, we cannot lift now. About 3 May, we will have to see the situation then.

Sudhir : The Ramzan month is about to start. 

Rajender : No one should come out. The community elders have already conveyed so. 

Sudhir : Many states have ramped up their testing. How much is Telangana testing now? 

Rajender : We tested 1200 people yesterday. Today the number will be close to 1300. There is no dearth of testing kits. 

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