In Karnataka, Health Minister no longer in charge of COVID-19

Sudhakar to now deal with issues related to pandemic instead of Sriramulu

After days of an apparent lack of coordination between Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar and Health and Family Welfare Minister B. Sriramulu on issues related to COVID-19, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Tuesday relieved the latter from handling all matters relating to the pandemic.

He will continue to hold the Health and Family Welfare portfolio excluding Medical Education and matters relating to COVID-19, stated a notification issued by Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on Tuesday. Mr. Sriramulu has been given the additional responsibility of Backward Classes Welfare Department. Dr. Sudhakar, who has been mainly handling all matters relating to COVID-19 ever since the pandemic was reported in India, has been entrusted with Medical Education along with all matters relating to COVID-19 from the Health and Family Welfare Department.

The Chief Minister, who denied that there was lack of coordination between the two Ministers, said his entire Ministry had been working in unison to flatten the curve of COVID-19. “While Mr. Sriramulu will tour the entire State, we want Dr. Sudhakar to focus on the city. There will be no clash between the two,” the Chief Minister said.

However, sources said the decision was taken as Dr. Sudhakar, who is a doctor himself, had been handling COVID-19 situation “efficiently” in the State.

From day one, Dr. Sudhakar has taken over the responsibility of coordinating with hospitals, setting up quarantine centres, briefing the press while also updating the status of positive cases on social media. All this while Mr. Sriramulu was busy with his daughter’s wedding. Although Mr. Sriramulu tweeted a few times on new cases and attended a few press conferences related to COVID-19, he never took over the entire responsibility.

Sources in the Health Department said this new arrangement would affect the smooth functioning of the department. “The entire official machinery of the Health Department, including top officials, are involved in tackling COVID-19. Now, if the Minister has to be kept out of this important issue, we are afraid there will be administrative issues,” said an official.

He said there was a possibility of further confusion in administrative matters, especially when several designated isolation facilities are in hospitals run by the Health Department.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:29:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/health-minister-no-longer-in-charge-of-covid-19/article31157876.ece

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