Telangana lockdown
Armed security personnel stand guard at Charminar during Telangana shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Hyderabad in this picture from March 25. Image Credit: ANI

Hyderabad: Facing constant pressure from High Court, the Telangana government finally decided to impose a total lockdown from Wednesday morning to firmly deal with the raging pandemic.

A cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday decided to go for 10-day lockdown starting from 10am on Wednesday, and impose many other restrictions.

An official release issued after the cabinet meet said people will be given a window of four hours from 6am to 10am every day to purchase essential commodities and attend necessary day-to-day work.

The cabinet also decided to float a global tender to source the COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers.

The cabinet discussed various aspects of the pandemic and reviewed the present situation in the state including some strong observations by Telangana State High Court criticising the way government was handling the pandemic.

The cabinet also focused on the measures to be taken to ensure migrant labourers don’t suffer as last time when thousands of them had to return to their native places or face starvation.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli resumed the hearing in the matter in the virtual presence of top police and administrative officials including the police commissioners of Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Rachakonda and the Director Public Health.

The bench expressed its displeasure that the government was not giving any regard to the court directions and warned officials of contempt of court proceedings.

The court also asked the advocate general BS Prasad whether the government was delaying the imposition of lockdown till the end of Ramadan on religious considerations.

Don’t stop ambulances on borders

The court observed that the state government was presenting a rosy picture while the ground reality was completely different. The court has been expressing its dissatisfaction over the low number of COVID-19 tests in the state.

The court also expressed its unhappiness over the incidents of police stopping ambulances with patients from neighbouring states at the border check posts. “Is this humanity”? the Chief Justice asked directing the authorities to allow all such ambulances into Hyderabad.

Police had stopped the ambulances on the ground of non-availability of beds in hospitals.

Meanwhile, oxygen shortage continues to play havoc in both the Telugu states. In the latest such incident, a large number of patients died in Tirupati and Hyderabad hospitals on Monday night as the oxygen pressure decreased below required levels.

While 11 patients died in Ruia Hospital in Tirupati leading to angry attendants ransacking the hospital and the hospital staff fleeing, 8 patients died in Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) in Hyderabad for the same reason.