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Warning hospitals fleecing patients of stringent action, Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday asserted that despite the growing numbers, “there is no community transmission” of Covid-19 in Maharashtra.

“A majority of the cases being reported are of those who are in quarantine, at home or in institutions, or those with some kind of contact history… So, as of now, there’s no community infection in the state,” Tope told media persons.

He said that the health authorities have succeeded in tracing out almost every Covid-19 infectee and zeroed in or their source of infection, as he ruled out any “community transmission”.

The worst-hit in the country, Maharashtra currently has 180,298 patients and a death toll of 8,053, while 93,154 have been fully cured and discharged by hospitals.

Tope also said that the plasma therapy treatment option is proving to be effective with nearly 90 per cent success, while critical medicines like Favipiravir and Remdesivir shall be made available in districts also.

Referring to unending complaints of overcharging, the Maharashtra government has made CCTV mandatory in all Covid-19 wards of hospitals, the minister said.

“The government has specified the cost of treatment in all such cases and hospitals must adhere to it or face stringent action. If patients have grievances, they can come forward and complain to us. We shall be announcing a special helpline number for this also,” Tope said.

Besides, he said family members or relatives outside the hospital shall be able to communicate with the patients inside the wards.

Referring to widespread fleecing of patients by ambulances, the minister said that the rates for this medical service will be declared by the Municipal Commissioners and District Collectors.

“In case of over-charging by hospitals or the ambulances, patients can bring it to our notice and we shall take action,” Tope assured.

He once again appealed to people not to suppress any of their symptoms and come forward for treatment in everybody’s interest.

The minister’s statements are considered significant as patients’ complaints of exorbitant billing by many private hospitals, ambulance operators, emanate daily on social media from Mumbai and other parts of the state.

Besides overcharging, there are also complaints of inordinate delays by ambulance operators which resulted in at least one death of a patient sitting on the road awaiting an ambulance in Pune, as highlighted by IANS on May 16.

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