Alarmed over mounting swine flu cases in Telangana, the state government on Wednesday swung into action and sought help from the central government, which agreed to send a high-level medical team, medicines and diagnostic kits.
After holding a series of review meetings with health officials and an emergency cabinet meeting, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday evening told reporters that the situation was totally under control and there was no need for panic.
He, however, said the administration should be alert to tackle the situation and appealed to people to take all precautions.
The chief minister, who spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union Health Minister J.P. Nadda over phone in the morning, said they assured all assistance to the state.
The central government is sending a high-level medical team to review the situation. It is also dispatching 50,000 tablets, 10,000 bottles of syrup and testing kits.
With five deaths and about 50 new cases reported Tuesday, the chief minister began the day with a call to Modi, seeking his help to tide over the situation.
Telangana Health Secretary Suresh Chanda has rushed to New Delhi to brief the union health ministry.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, voiced unhappiness over the performance of the health department. He felt that health authorities remained unmoved despite the increasing number of cases.
Declaring an all out war on swine flu, he said the virus has so far claimed 19 lives in the state. He, however, said there was no need for panic as people can prevent it by keeping their surroundings clean and also by focusing on personal hygiene.
The chief minister said those having swine flu symptoms should immediately approach the nearest hospital and should avoid moving in public places to prevent its spread.
As the cold weather conditions are likely to continue for 20 more days, KCR said there was a need for the authorities to remain on alert to check the spread of H1N1 virus and create public awareness on the preventive measures.
The chief minister constituted a high-level committee comprising health secretary, director of medical education, director of health and other officials to monitor the situation.
KCR appointed one senior IAS official as the nodal officer for each district to review the situation. Five officials have been appointed for Greater Hyderabad.
He directed officials to make medicines available at government-run hospitals in all districts. Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM) will set up a laboratory in each district for testing the blood samples.
Government-run Gandhi, Osmania, Niloufer and Fever hospitals in Hyderabad already have isolation wards and they will be further strengthened.
The government also decided to bring treatment of swine flu under Arogyasri scheme, under which poor are provided free medical services. The chief minister also appealed to corporate hospitals to provide free treatment to the affected.