The ongoing countrywide lockdown to contain COVID-19 has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in the Telugu-speaking states due to disruptions in supply chains of essential services and shortage of health infrastructure for treatment of patients. As the number of positive cases continue to rise across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the situation has become terrifying for patients, suffering from COVID-19 or other ailments.
Andhra Pradesh on Saturday, April 4, reported 16 more positive cases, taking the total COVID-19 cases to 180. Whereas, Telangana has so far 229 positive cases with 75 new cases being reported on Friday alone. AP has reported one death due to the virus infection, while the death toll is 11 in Telangana.
In Telangana, of the total 33 districts, COVID-19 positive cases have been reported in 20 districts, with nearly 50% of the cases being reported in Hyderabad alone. In Andhra Pradesh, the virus affected cases have been reported in 11 of total 13 districts with more number of cases being reported in Nellore and Krishna Districts.
Panic of the virus is intensifying in rural areas in Telangana, said B Kartheek, a crime reporter based in Telangana. “For instance, when one woman in a town in Nalgonda district was tested positive, the news spread so fast that most of the villages surrounding the town have blocked roads entering their villages,” Kartheek told NewsClick.
Also read: COVID-19: Southern States Begin Contact Tracing of Thousands Who Attended Nizamuddin Meet
According to newspaper reports, patients with pre-existing illnesses are also facing difficulties due to the inter-state blockade. Telugu daily Andhra Jyothi reported that thousands of people with pre-existing diseases and illnesses in Andhra Pradesh are struggling to get treatment as most of the private hospitals in the state are closed due to lockdown and they are not able to continue their ongoing treatment in hospitals in Hyderabad due to stoppage of interstate transport.
For COVID-19 treatment, the Telangana government has earmarked 31 hospitals across the state and another set of special facilities comprising 11,000 isolation beds and 1,500 ICU beds. In Andhra Pradesh, earlier this week, CM Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy had issued an order directing all private hospitals in the state “to place their premises with all available resources and manpower” at the disposal of district collectors as and when required.
Meanwhile, farmers are among the most distressed sections in Telangana due to the ongoing lockdown. Although, the state government has stated that it will procure all the farm produce directly from the villages, farmers associated with horticulture and vegetables are facing the brunt of the lockdown with the sudden spike in the cost for harvesting.
“Usually, harvesters charge Rs 2,000 per hour for using a machine to harvest the paddy crop. Now they are charging Rs 2,500 per hour due to the increase in demand. Similarly, farmers producing vegetables are facing difficulties in transporting the produce to nearby towns due to high transport charges,” Vikas, a young farmer from Miryalaguda, told NewsClick explaining the difficulties he is facing.
Reportedly, farmers who have cultivated flowers (used for decorations in functions) are staring at huge losses due to the ongoing shutdown.
On the other side, both the Telugu states have begun free distribution of ration supplies to eligible ration holders. The states are also providing free food supply to stranded migrant and daily wage labourers in all towns, with several civil society organisations and political parties also pitching in such services.
Also read: Farmers From Telugu States Concerned Over Rabi Crop Procurement Amid COVID-19 Lockdown