Telangana refuses entry to COVID patients from A.P.

Representative Image: The crew of the ambulances were asked to show the requisite documents in support of bed allotment and prior confirmation of hospital admission for the patients on board the emergency vehicles. File Photo.  

Telangana police on Monday stopped the entry of all ambulances with COVID-19 patients from Andhra Pradesh heading towards Hyderabad, the hub for medical treatment in the twin States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, amid the virulent second wave.

Ambulances with COVID patients were turned away by Telangana police on all inter-State borders from the check-posts at Pullur in Jogulamba-Gadwal, Kodada on the Nalgonda-Krishna district border and Mancherial and Kumaram Bheem - Asifabad districts on Telangana-Maharashtra border.

Distraught attendants of the critically ill patients, many on oxygen support, pleaded with the police to enable them to access better medicare in Hyderabad-based hospitals, but in vain. 

At the Pollur checkpost, when the patients arrived from various places in Kadapa, Kurnool, and Anantapur districts, they were asked to furnish an ‘RT-PCR Negative’ certificate’ or a confirmed admission appointment from a hospital in Telangana. The majority of the patients were caught unawares, and were seen pleading with the police citing medical emergencies. 

However, except for a couple of them with transparent medical records or ‘Negative’ RT-PCR certificates, the rest were turned back. A similar scenario played out at Kodada checkpost and frantic messages flooded social media from the morning of people turning to friends and associates in Telangana to gain entry. 

No official ban

The ban comes despite there being no official restrictions on inter-State travel between Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. 

Dozens of medical emergency vehicles from the Rayalaseema region, especially from the Kurnool and Kadapa districts, were stuck at the border with Jogulamba-Gadwal police not allowing the vehicles to move to Hyderabad. All the ambulances were carrying COVID positive patients who were in need of immediate medical assistance — many being shifted to various hospitals in Hyderabad and Mahabubnagar.

“All the patients stopped by the police were on liquid oxygen support and they need immediate medical assistance, but police are not allowing us stating that there are no beds in Hyderabad and asked us to go back,” said the family member of a COVID-19 patient who was stopped and forced to go back to Kurnool.

Among those turned back to Kadapa by the police was an ambulance carrying a patient who had ‘confirmed booking’ at a private hospital in Hyderabad. “They are not even allowing patients even after managing to get a bed at the hospital,” another person said.

More than three dozen police officers from the district were deployed on the border to stop and check each vehicle and send them back if they are heading to the State capital for treatment.

“We have clear instructions from the senior officers not to allow ambulances to Hyderabad in any case. So we are stopping them and asking the family members to arrange for the treatment in AP,” an officer monitoring the movement of vehicles at the border said.

Speaking to The Hindu a senior officer confirmed that they were not allowing the ambulances without any prior confirmation from the hospitals in Hyderabad, where there is a severe shortage for COVID beds.

At Maharahstra border

The situation is similar on the Telangana-Maharashtra borders in Mancherial and Kumaram Bheem-Asifabad districts in the north Telangana. “Ambulances without any confirmation of bed from the hospitals are stopped and sent back, as the patients should not suffer after coming here. And the measure is also to contain the spread of the virus in the areas,” an officer said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Adilabad in-charge SP Rajesh Chandra said that the situation was peaceful at the Telangana-Maharashtra border in the district. “Only two or three ambulances carrying pregnant women or accident victims are coming to Adilabad from neighbouring Maharashtra. Our borders are open. We did not impose any restriction on the movement of vehicles,” he said.

At the Kodad border, several ambulances bound for Hyderabad with COVID-19 patients were stopped by the Telangana police at the inter-State border checkpost in Suryapet district for lack of valid documents.

Quite a few siren-wailing ambulances came to a screeching halt at Ramapuram cross roads near Kodad as the police accompanied by medical teams stopped them.

The ambulance crews were asked to show the requisite documents in support of bed allotment and prior confirmation of hospital admission for the patients on board the emergency vehicles.

More than a dozen ambulances had to return back carrying the ailing patients till noon, sources added.

Police sources attributed the move to the acute shortage of beds in Hyderabad-based hospitals aimed at reducing burden on the overstrained hospitals in the pandemic situation.

Meanwhile, the A.P. Police had listed some phone numbers and email IDs of the police department in each district for inter-district travel during the curfew timings.

(With inputs from P.Sridhar in Khammam, Ramesh Susarla in Kurnool)

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 3:52:45 AM |

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