As the number of positive corona cases crossed the 300-mark and four deaths reported in Andhra Pradesh, the state government has started identifying hotspots where it will undertake rapid antibody testing of suspected coronavirus patients, transport, I&PR minister Perni Nani said on Tuesday.
Andhra Pradesh so far reported 304 cases of corona, 290 of them had attended Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin and returned to the state. Addressing a press conference, Nani said a total of 1,043 people from AP had attended the Jamaat congregation, of these 196 were tested positive and undergoing treatment in various government hospitals. The state government had identified and traced 22,620 foreign returnees and were placed under the 14-day mandatory home quarantine. Further, he said four hospitals were set up in the state, an exclusive hospital to treat corona patients is being established in Bellamkonda.
TPD president and former chier minister N Chandrababu Naidu in a recent press meet in Hyderabad accused the government of hiding facts while stating that AP has registered 1,021 per cent rise in the number of corona cases as against India’s average of 222 per cent in the last one week. He said the government should step up testing in order to identify and isolate corona positive cases for prevention of its transmission.
Addressing media here, Nani said, “The state is much ahead compared to other states in testing and containing coronavirus in Andhra Pradesh. Our volunteer system has tracked more than 20,000 foreign returnees. They are home quarantined.”
Coming down heavily on Naidu for accusing the government of not being transparent and for not providing adequate medical equipment to medical staff, Perni Nani said that there is enough stockpiled medical equipment like masks, gowns and gloves to fulfill the anticipated need of state’s health care system as it deals with the coronavirus. “We have been transparent. Some people who sit in Hyderabad should know that the state is well equipped to deal with the corona crisis. He should stop politicizing. This is a false propaganda from a man from another state. He is making irresponsible statements,” he said referring to Naidu.
In terms of supplies, the minister said this is an unprecedented challenge and the state government is working on to increase the supplies of personal protective equipment and ventilators. “We have tremendous supplies, we have adequate number of N95 masks, Personal Protective Equipment, gowns, masks, but we want to acquire more,” he said. Reacting sharply to a video of a Narsipatnam doctor who accused that the AP government lacks adequate medical gear to fight corona virus, he said the doctor spoke like a politician and not as a medical practitioner. “The hospital in Narsipatnam that the so called doctor was talking about has 20 PPEs and 32N95 masks. The hospital is not even a Covid center. Is he a doctor or a politician to talk this way,” Perni Nani questioned. Currently, 12,000 Personal Protective Equipment is available, and the government has placed an order for 20,000 more PPEs.
The health minister said the state government had set up three more laboratories in Vizag, Kadapa and Guntur for testing suspected novel coronavirus cases. With the three new labs, Nani said the state currently has seven labs which a capacity to test 1,270 samples in each of the labs. Additionally, the state government will convert the more than 240 TB testing labs into covid-19 testing labs.