Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao did some plain talking to the people of the State on Friday, pointing out that the world was waging a war against a monster of unbelievable proportions. “The greatest weapon we have, besides the medical facilities, is social distancing by way of confining ourselves to our homes to check the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
Stating that the government was prepared for any eventuality, even if it was a full blown situation in the State, Chandrashekhar Rao said all efforts by the government, however, would be futile if the people do not cooperate. “From the government side, we are making all the arrangements, but, you the people should complement the government efforts by ensuring that you stay indoors, maintain social distancing and avoid gathering in groups,” he said, adding that any deviation from these norms would only result in diversion of government energy from other more important matters.
Citing the situation in various countries where the situation was alarming, the Chief Minister, speaking to the media at Pragathi Bhavan after a high-level meeting, said experts from the John Hopkins Institute are of the opinion that should the pandemic spread in India on the scale it had in China, Spain, Italy and the US, at least 20 crore people in the country would be affected. “The virus does not differentiate between Prime Minister and Chief Minister, and will attack everyone,” he said.
“I appeal to the people of the State not to take the situation lightly with a nothing-will-happen-to-me attitude. Please stay at home, maintain social distancing when you go out to make purchases and completely avoid group gatherings. Only this can help in checking the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
On the State’s preparedness to combat the deadly virus, Chandrashekhar Rao, assuring that the government was 100 per cent prepared, said the measures initiated by the State administration would facilitate treatment of 60,000 patients if the need arises.
“We have a total of 11,000 beds ready in isolation wards of hospitals for coronavirus 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 for Covid patients,” he said, adding that Gandhi and King Kothi Hospitals are also being readied.
Stating that the government had placed order for 500 new ventillators, the Chief Minister said a pool of 11,000 doctors was being prepared that includes the 8,000 existing doctors. The remaining comprise retired doctors, PG medical students and medical interns. “We are also working on a financial package for these professionals (Barring serving government doctors). Besides, the government is also preparing a pool of nurses and other paramedics including laboratory technicians,” he said.
The Chief Minister said he had a lengthy telephonic discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the day, when he apprised him of the ground situation in Telangana as well as the measures put in place by the State government. “The Prime Minister assured me that the Centre would always stand by the State government and would extend any help that is required. I thanked him for the assurance,” he said.
Chandrashekhar Rao, who repeatedly appealed to the people to voluntarily abide by the lockdown norms now extended till April 15 in the State, said the sheer population numbers, the density and lack of health facilities commensurate to the size of the population are factors that make the battle against coronavirus that much more difficult. “Our inherent strength lies in our unity in facing any situation. We will win this battle too with the cooperation of the people,” he said.
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