After lot of uproar on social media on high rates selling of Coronavirus masks in Hyderabad. Telangana Health Ministry initiated to conduct raids on stores to ensure that the sale of masks isn’t hiked. The clear warning notice issued to all medical outlets in the state.

Telangana Health Minister Etala Rajender announced a crackdown on medical stores and retailers hiking the price of masks in the wake of the coronavirus scare in the state. The minister said that they would conduct raids on the stores which are selling masks at a higher rate and seize them. Mincing no words, the minister said, “Shavaala meeda pyalaalu erukutinadam antaru dheeni (It’s like scrounging for puffed rice on dead bodies),” referring to the unethical practices, while addressing the media.

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“We have already instructed the drug inspectors to seize stores which are selling the masks at exorbitant rates and file criminal cases against them,” he added.

The minister was shocked to hear from reporters that the masks are being sold for exorbitant under their nose in Gandhi Hospital, where the techie who contracted with coronavirus is being monitored. “From tomorrow (Friday), we will conduct raids,” he assured.

Appealing to medical store owners, he said, “please dont do this, this is really stupid.”

However, the minister insisted that there is no need to wear masks. “Only coronavirus patients should wear N95 masks.” The Telangana government has earlier urged the Centre to dispatch 50,000 N95 masks, but they are yet to come.

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Meanwhile, in a major relief two persons–one software employee from DSM company and the sanitation worker from Apollo Hospital–who came in contact with the techie–tested negative on Thursday. These patients will be kept in isolation for 14 days, and tests will be carried out again next week, as per protocol. The test reports of 21 others collected on Wednesday were also negative.

Minister Etala also gave clarity on the private hospitals which are willing to handle patients suspected of coronavirus. The minister said private hospitals can’t charge as per their whims, and the government will regulate fees of the patients who have been admitted for having symptoms of the virus.

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Earlier in the day, Director of Public Health and Family Welfare (DPHFW), G Srinivasa Rao said that private hospitals which have isolation wards, and which comply with the guidelines issued by the Government of India can manage the patients. On Thursday, around 90 private hospitals said they had facilities to handle suspected cases of coronavirus.

Health officials have mandated these hospitals to have a separate counter for patients with influenza-like symptoms and have a travel history to foreign countries. Details of these patients should be shared with the nodal officer. The isolation wards, sample collection and transportation of samples must be done with strict adherence to prescribed protocols, DPHFW said. #KhabarLive