Coronavirus | In Karnataka, Ministers speak in two voices

Lack of consensus among the Ministers over the measures taken by the State government to handle COVID-19 in the State became obvious on the floor of the Legislative Council on Tuesday as two Ministers in the task force gave different versions, even as the Opposition slammed the government over its inadequate efforts to stem the pandemic.

As Health Minister B. Sriramulu was making a statement in the House on the status of COVID-19 in the State, Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan also rose to add some points on the measures taken by the government, including the government’s prediction of about one lakh infections in future.

Dr. Narayan, a medical practitioner himself, clarified that according to a new advisory, treatment for COVID-19 patients would be given in the government-run isolation wards, and that normal hospitals will not provide treatment.

Beds reserved

He also clarified that 30% of the beds will be reserved for COVID-19 patients were part of an earlier directive.

However, Mr. Sriramulu said that 30% of the ventilators have been booked in private hospitals.

When Opposition members questioned the mode of payment by the patients, Dr. Narayan said that since it was government-run isolation hospital, the question of payment did not arise.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sriramulu said that the private hospitals would be offering ventilator services for free, and that the government and private sector would be making a joint effort.

The two also differed over the number of ventilators available for COVID-19 cases.

While Dr. Narayan said that the government had 300 ventilators and private hospitals were giving 100 more while it is in the process of procuring 1,000 ventilators, Mr. Sriramulu said that ventilators available between government and private hospitals was 700.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:16:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covid-19-ministers-speak-in-two-voices/article31157274.ece

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