Expressing concern at the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy called for a concerted effort to control it so as to avoid another lockdown, which cost the State dearly last year.
“COVID caused a staggering loss of ₹21,000 crore to the exchequer (in 2020). We cannot afford to go back to those days as the economy will suffer a devastating blow,” he observed, ordering that wide publicity be given to COVID prevention and management.
On being informed that the existing stocks of COVID vaccine would be sufficient for only two days, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy directed that an indent should be immediately placed with the Central government and enough number of doses procured at the earliest. The State has 3 lakh doses of the vaccine at present.
Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered that the vaccination of about one crore people aged above 45 should be completed in a month as inoculation was the only way to curb the menace. The target should be to administer the vaccine to four lakh people in rural areas per day and two lakh per day in cities and towns.
He instructed the officials to strictly deal with those not wearing masks and to ensure that the COVID patients were not exploited in private hospitals.
Officials of the Health, Medical & Family Welfare Department told the Chief Minister that there were 66 COVID hospitals and 22 COVID care centres in the State.
He directed them to make beds available in hospitals immediately when COVID-infected persons ask for them through toll-free number 104.
He also wanted enough stocks of remdesivir injection to be maintained for treating those who fell seriously ill due to COVID. Besides, there should be no dearth of COVID medicine kits required by those in home isolation.
Reviewing the progress of infrastructure works taken up in hospitals under the Nadu-Nedu programme, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy said funds should be released without inordinate delays and that the YSR Health Clinics be painted with vibrant colours and all facilities stipulated by the government are provided.
Officials told the Chief Minister that acquisition of land for the establishment of eight medical colleges was completed and it was in progress for another eight colleges. Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy wanted the construction of all the 16 medical colleges to begin by July 1.
He further directed the officials to evolve a foolproof procedure for releasing the hospital development funds whenever required and not to impose the task on the medical superintendents.
He said ‘hospital managers’ could be appointed for taking care of all non-clinical affairs, on being told that this system was yielding the desired results in some States.
Health Minister Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas, Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das and Principal Secretary (Health) A.K. Singhal were among those present.