Telangana may not go for lockdown relaxations

Hyderabad: With the surge in COVID-19 cases continuing in Telangana and Hyderabad and seven other districts being the hotspots, the state is not likely to go for any relaxations in the ongoing lockdown despite the guidelines issued by the Centre to open up come sectors from April 20.

The state cabinet will be holding its crucial meeting on Sunday to take a final call but the indications are that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government is not in favour of any relaxations in view of the positive cases being reported every day.

As many as 116 people tested positive for coronavirus during the last two days, taking the state’s tally to 766. The ruling party leaders and officials feel that relaxations at this stage could prove suicidal and undo all the efforts put in so far to flatten the curve.

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Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao is likely to go ahead with the strict implementation of the lockdown till May 3.

The state government circles have reacted with shock and disbelief over the guidelines issued by the Centre on Wednesday. According to these guidelines industries operating in areas outside urban areas will re-open. Similarly e-commerce companies can resume functioning while IT and ITES companies will also be allowed to operate with 50 per cent employees. As per the guidelines self-employed persons in service sectors like electricians, plumbers and carpenters will also be permitted.

Chandrashekhar Rao was one of the first leaders to seek extension of the lockdown at least by two weeks. He extended the lockdown in the state till April 30 even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced nation-wide extension till May 3.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, had also stated that even after May 3 the restrictions will be lifted in a phased manner. However, the guidelines issued by the Centre are being viewed as a setback to the efforts.

One of the first to announce state-wide lockdown, KCR holds the view that in the absence of any vaccine or drug to cure COVID-19, lockdown is the only weapon available to combat the dreaded disease. “We can revive the economy but can’t revive the dead,” he stated on many occasions.

The KCR government is said to be of the view that once certain sectors are opened it could lead to chaos thus undermining the efforts to control the spread of virus.

Greater Hyderabad, home to almost the entire business and industry activity of the state, is already categorized as COVID-19 hotspot as it accounts for 417 out of 766 cases. The health and municipal authorities in Greater Hyderabad have created 146 containment centres to check the spread of virus.

Seven other districts in the state have also been categorized as the hotspots with large outbreaks.

KCR’s son and minister for industry, information technology, urban development and municipal administration K.T. Rama Rao has been holding consultations with the industry leaders for the last two days to take their inputs and evolve a consensus on the exit strategy.

According to the minister’s office, the industry captains suggested that the lifting of lockdown should be staggered and should include the concerns of the industry

“These are unprecedented times and we are in uncharted territory,” said the minister.

He stated that even governments are learning as days pass by. Rama Rao said that the state government’s strategies are changing based on the trajectory of virus spread.

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