'Govt taking precautions to prevent Zika virus threat'

'Govt taking precautions to  prevent Zika virus threat'

Health Minister U T Khader on Monday said the State government has taken the spread of dreaded Zika virus seriously and precautionary measures are being taken to prevent its spread in the State.

Speaking to reporters, he said it is yet to be confirmed whether Zika virus really exists or it is only a creation of drug companies. “But the government will not take the threat lightly. The State Health department officials are in touch with their counterparts at the Centre and the World Health Organisation (WHO),” he added.

The government is ready to start screening the passengers at airports to prevent the spread of virus. The Centre has been requested to provide the necessary health kits and protocol guidance for this purpose. A majority of the passengers from countries affected by the virus arrive at either Mumbai or Delhi airports. So there is no need for panic in Karnataka, he pointed out.

Amendment

Khader said that the government was planning to bring in certain amendments to the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2009, with an aim to protecting the interest of patients. But the minister did not divulge details of amendments his department is planning to bring in.

Though the Act has made it mandatory for all hospitals to display the rates for consultation, diagnosis, treatment, reports, services and other procedures and room rent or bed charges, a majority of the hospitals are not following it. The Health department has, however, turned a blind eye.

Asked about Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questioning Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for not giving his phone numbers to people, the way he has done in Delhi, Khader said: “People having the chief minister's phone number is not important. What really matters is the way the chief minister responds to people. Anybody can enter our chief minister's house and meet him,” he claimed.

To a question why a freedom fighter approached the High Court to meet Siddaramaiah, he only said that it was a special case.

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