Telangana government’s prompt and adaptive response to the Coronavirus crisis has instilled confidence in the citizens of the state and is worthy of emulation
The current Coronavirus pandemic has created such a panic world over that no incident since the Second World War comes close.
Ever since the first case of Coronavirus was reported in the state, the Telangana Government initiated a series of preventive and curative measures to contain the virus. To begin with, the Government sought to understand the reasons behind the outbreak and spread based on the virus timeline from its epicentre in Wuhan.
Perhaps, the Telangana State was the first to identify that a major factor for the spread of the virus, was the travel history. Telangana was the first state to constitute special task force teams all over the State in order to identify those who came from abroad after March 1, 2020, and also identifying people within the State who had interacted with these returnees. The authorities were able to identify 25,937 such people and put them under quarantine, either in the hospitals meant for it or at their respective homes.
The Telangana Government was the first to request PM Modi. Telangana State was also the first to talk about sealing the interstate borders and banning public transport, both intra and interstate. The PM readily agreed to Telangana CM's proposal to utilise the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) labs in Hyderabad for conducting the COVID-19 tests.
To create more awareness and not panic among the people on the Coronavirus, periodical media briefings are taking place. With the same spirit shown during 'Palle Pragathi' and 'Pattana Pragathi', people in the State are making the lock-down and social distancing successful, barring minor violations.
In a major pandemic, the most affected are the poor and the marginalised. Besides providing 12 kg of rice per person and Rs 1500 in cash, the state government has also ensured that no one in the state goes hungry.
In order to curtail expenditure, the government has imposed a cut in the salaries of public servants right from Chief Minister down to an attendee ranging from 75 per cent to 10 per cent.
The government is fortunate in having committed official machinery in the state. Employees, medical staff, public utility operators, police, ministers, officials, elected representatives, self-help groups, farmers, 'Rythu Bandhu Samithi' teams, media and a host of other agencies are working round the clock to put an end to this crisis.
While strictly maintaining the lock-down, measures have been taken to protect the day-to-day lives and livelihoods of the people. From roadside 'Kirana' shops, small vegetable vendors to other small-time traders, all are allowed to do their business within the restrictions under the total lock-down.
A clear-cut assurance has been given to the farmers that they would get Minimum Support Price for their produce and their produce will be procured by the government at the villages themselves. Instructions have also been given to all concerned that the movement of essential commodities, fruits, vegetables, medicines, milk, cattle feed, fodder, should be allowed. A paddy and rice policy for the state has been mooted.
The government is prepared for any eventuality, even if it was a full-blown situation in the State. But the people of the State should not take the situation lightly with a 'nothing-will-happen-to-me' attitude.
The State is fully geared up and prepared to combat the deadly virus and it could facilitate the treatment of 60,000 patients if the need arises. A total of 11,000 beds are ready in isolation wards of hospitals for patients besides another 1,400 beds in ICUs. The Gachibowli Stadium will be converted, in the next two to three days, into an exclusive isolation facility. The Gandhi and King Koti Hospitals are also being kept ready.
The Government had placed an order for 500 new ventilators and are preparing a pool of 11,000 doctors that includes 8,000 existing doctors. The rest are retired doctors, PG medical students and medical interns. A financial package for these professionals is also being worked upon.
All the private hospitals, sports stadiums, multiplex complexes and malls would also be kept ready to be temporary hospitals if need be.
This is not time to complain or indulge in a blame game. This is the time to maintain balance, to be vigilant and alert. This is the time to explore the alternative and time-tested systems of medicine and try to find out whether they have any solution to offer which can be tested and verified. This is the time for all of us to act unitedly and decisively. In the weeks and months to come, we should show our resilience, commitment, dedication in a united effort to eradicate the deadly Coronavirus from the world.
World Health Organisation (WHO) executive, Director Michael Ryan has rightly said that India has a tremendous capacity to deal with the outbreak and, as the second-most populous country, it would have an enormous impact on the world's ability to deal with it.
The writer is the former Lead Partner and Consultant for EMRI-108 Services. Views expressed are strictly personal