Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], Aug 30 (ANI): Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu (NCB) on Sunday expressed concern over the “unchecked rise” of COVID-19 in Andhra Pradesh and urged the state’s Chief Secretary to place immediate focus on livelihoods and health of the vulnerable people.
Naidu, in a letter to Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney, said that an alarming rise in infections should be a warning sign that requires greater efforts and decisive actions with empathy towards all sections of people in the state. “There is a need to instill confidence in the people by providing effective strategies and solutions in this moment of crisis. Only a proactive role by the government would pave the way for the State to recover from the adverse affects of the COVID. At this juncture, the government should focus on twin areas – health and livelihood of the people,” Naidu said in the letter.
The TDP chief also deplored that even though Andhra Pradesh is a small state in population, “it stands second in India in number of COVID cases”. Andhra Pradesh has even surpassed countries like Bangladesh, Spain, UK and Argentina in the rate of increase in cases, he said.
Naidu pointed out that all the 13 districts in the state have surpassed 15,000 cases and Andhra Pradesh stands fifth in the country in terms of COVID related deaths.
“In this backdrop, it is highly essential to secure the health of the frontline warriors like doctors, nurses and other para medical staff, police, panchayat raj, revenue and municipal employees among others. It is equally essential to provide a safety net to the family members of the COVID frontline warriors by providing them health facilities and financial security,” Naidu said.
“On the one hand, the government calls for RT-PCR tests but falls short of doing ample RT-PCR tests. Most recently, on 27 August 2020 the government conducted as many as 22,056 antigen tests. The need of the hour is to phase out antigen tests and conduct 100 per cent RT-PCR tests in the state. The accuracy of antigen tests has been condemned globally and to put the coronavirus crisis behind us we must focus on conducting more and more RT-PCR tests,” he added.
Naidu said that there should be standard operating procedures (SOP) and guidelines to monitor every patient in-home quarantine or isolation and added that an oximeter, a kit with essential medicines needs to be delivered to every positive patient.
Expressing concern over high COVID treatment costs, Naidu said that people in general and the poor and middle class, in particular, were under huge stress.
“The government should take steps to reduce the high costs. Due to lack of infrastructure for treating COVID patients in Andhra Pradesh, many of them are going to neighbouring states for treatment. The government has set price cap between the range of Rs 3,250 per day and Rs 10,380 per day for various categories of patients,” he said.
However, Naidu pointed out that some hospitals continue to ignore the government order and are “blatantly charging much more”. He also said that while COVID-19 threatened the health of the people, the lockdowns deprived them of their livelihoods and jobs.
“A livelihood assistance of Rs 10,000 per family per month must be given on a retrospective basis. All families with a valid below poverty line (BPL) ration card must be given allowances for the months of April to November 2020,” he added.
The TDP chief also demanded minimum financial assistance of Rs 50 lakhs to the family members of the frontline warriors who sacrificed their lives for the sake of larger good. He said that in rural areas, ASHA workers are the backbone of healthcare system and highlighted the mistreatment being meted out to them.
Chandrababu Naidu also raised concern over “sub-standard PPE kits and lack of N95 masks” and said that this serious concern requires intervention from the highest level.
Stressing the need for temporary hospitals, Naidu asked the government to involve private players like hospitals, doctors, pharma companies, etc, in providing all-inclusive treatment for people suffering from COVID. The government should take this COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity and build proper health care infrastructure, he added.
Naidu said it is necessary to rationalise the health infrastructure in an efficient manner for optimum utilisation and added that comprehensive facilities like medical, food, water and uninterrupted power supply, should be provided at all quarantine centres.