Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday announced ₹15,000 for the final rites of those who died of COVID-19, a decision taken after the Opposition TDP criticised the government for alleged inhuman handling of bodies of coronavirus victims. The Chief Minister also warned that the government would take strict action against COVID hospitals if they were found denying medical treatment to patients. He also instructed the officials to take up a one week special drive to provide quality services in the quarantine centres where the call centre number should be displayed for registering complaints. These decisions were taken after a review meeting on COVID-19 containment measures held here. ” ₹15,000 should be given towards the last rites of the deceased and (CM) instructed the officials to issue orders immediately,” an official statement quoted him as having said at the meeting. Stating that no hospital should turn away COVID patients, the Chief Minister said, “If the hospital authority refuses to do so, he will be dealt with severely and the hospital permissions will be revoked.” The CM also directed officials to focus on hygiene, medicines, quality of food at quarantine centres and ensure that the call centre number for complaints is displayed at every Covid Centre and that feedback be collected regularly. Awareness should be created among people on the need and availability of undergoing tests and what a person who suspects that he has COVID symptoms should do. The tests should also be carried out as per Standard Operating Procedure, which should mention the category that one has to undergo the tests, the Chief Minister added. In the meeting, officials informed him that tests are being conducted in containment zones after tracing the contacts and the main reason for the deaths was patients showing up in an advanced stage of COVID. They also indicated that 17,000 doctors and over 12,000 nurses could be required in the coming days for handling COVID patients in the state. The Chief Minister has asked the officials to prepare an action plan, keeping future needs in mind. Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Medical and Health Alla Nani, Chief Secretary Neelam Sawhney, DGP Goutham Sawang, Medical and Health Special Chief Secretary K S Jawar Reddy and other officials participated in the meeting. Last week, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu, had tweeted a video, showing bodies of coronavirus victims being dumped into a pit with the help of a JCB and demanded an apology from the Chief Minister. Naidu had tweeted that such incidents are occurring time and again in the state and slammed the government for not giving the patients a ‘respectful departure’.
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