The Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to test all those who die in government hospitals for Covid-19, before releasing their bodies. It also asked the government why tests were not being conducted in high-risk zones.
With 1991 cases detected so far, Telangana is among the states with the lowest testing.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the number of Covid-19 tests, a bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice N Vijaysen Reddy, directed the State government to file a detailed report before it regarding tests on migrant workers and classification of zones.
“Rather than congratulating ourselves for having fewer Coronavirus cases, the state should take up more tests. Ignoring the presence of coronavirus by not testing in large numbers is almost like inviting the Trojan horse,” Justice Chauhan noted. “Why is the Telangana government under testing? Financial constraints cannot be cited as a reason as human lives are most important,” the bench further noted.
On government not conducting tests on dead bodies, the court observed that the health officials and staff handling the body, the family members and relatives who attend the last rites would be exposed to coronavirus if the person died of it. The Bench set aside the circular issued by the state government on April 24 not to test the dead bodies and posted the matter for further hearing on June 4.
The court specifically asked the government to furnish figures on how many migrants had returned to the state and how many have been tested and outcome. The court also asked if secondary contacts of migrants testing positive have been traced and what was the situation in the villages where the migrants have reached. The court also asked for a detailed report explaining how red and orange zones have been declared as green zones.
The court also rapped the government for not revealing the test figures of Suryapet and Nirmal districts where several cases were reported last month. “Why were tests not conducted in high-risk areas? The number of tests in Telangana is less as compared to other states. The US is a very advanced country with world-class medical facilities but still, over one lakh have died there. India has taken precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.,’’ the bench which passed the order through video-conferencing said.
The petitioners have argued that the state is conducting fewer tests, about the absence of PPE kits and masks for medical professionals, and not providing accommodation to returning migrant workers.
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