WIth the number of Covid-19 cases continuing to rise in Telangana, the High Court on Wednesday criticised the government for “behaving in a manner that is violating the right to live”.
The court said it is the duty of the state to protect the lives of citizens. By not declaring the required information regarding the spread of Covid-19, including information on where containment zones are, the state is endangering the lives of citizens, it said.
“You cannot abdicate your responsibility to protect your citizens. Why are you not conducting the required number of tests? Why are you not disseminating information daily in your bulletins about containment zones, and more information about spread of the virus?” Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan said.
Facing flak from the HC and others, the Telangana government had promised to increase the number tests to over 5,000 per day, but it has restricted them to less than 4,000 so far.
The CJ directed the government to provide details of efforts being made to contain the situation by July 17, failing which it has ordered the chief secretary, health secretary, director of public health and commissioner of public health to appear in virtual court.
The Bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Jusice Vijayasen Reddy questioned why the government was not conducting enough tests to meet the mark of 50,000 in 10 days, as it had promised to do in its last affidavit filed on June 17.
“There are high positives amidst low testing but the government has not adhered to its assurance of increasing testing,” the Bench said.
The court sought information from the government on how many primary and secondary contacts of infected persons were traced and samples taken.
“Health authorities started conducting more tests, but they were alarmed by the high number of Covid-19 cases when testing was increased. The Telangana government has scaled it down,” a health department official said.
The increase in tests resulted in the number of cases tripling in Telangana, with a majority reported in Hyderabad. As of June 30, there were 16,339 cases in Telangana.
On June 30, 945 new cases were reported; 869 of 945 cases were reported from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation area.
There were seven deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total toll to 260.
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