Telangana HC stays govt’s order on ambulances entry

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Hyderabad: The Telangana high court on Friday stayed a circular issued by the state government restricting the entry of ambulances and other vehicles from across the border carrying COVID-19 patients into the state.

A division bench headed by chief justice Hima Kohli issued interim orders to this effect, after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by retired Indian Revenue Service officer Garimella Venkat Krishna Rao.

The bench asked the governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the Central government to file their counter-affidavits within two weeks and posted the case to June 17. The bench directed that the government should not take any measures restricting the movement of ambulances and other vehicles carrying COVID-19 patients from other states into Telangana.

Telangana state medical and health director Dr G Srinivasa Rao said no patient from other states having a tie-up with a hospital in Hyderabad and e-pass from the police was denied entry into Telangana. The state government also issued orders on the same on Thursday.

“Our intention is not to create troubles for any patient from any state. In fact, 45 per cent of the hospital beds in Hyderabad are occupied by patients from other states. Already 80 per cent of the ICU and oxygen beds in the state are fully occupied,” Rao said.

“We have the responsibility to cater to the needs of the patients from Telangana as well,” he added.

Earlier during the day, two COVID-19 patients from Andhra Pradesh’s Nandyal and Kadapa died in the ambulance vehicles they were traveling in, as Telangana Police did not permit vehicles without valid e-pass.

The development took place at the Panchalingala check-post on National Highway 44.