Panaji (Goa) [India], May 19 (ANI): Kerala health minister KK Shailaja on Tuesday came under scathing criticism by Goa after she alleged in an international television news channel interview that a COVID-19 fatality in her state was that of a man from Goa who had travelled to Kerala due to inadequate healthcare facilities in Goa.
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant took to Twitter to post: "I am appalled by the factually incorrect statements of Kerala Health Minister."
Shailaja had in the televised interview said that Kerala had only three deaths and the fourth fatality in the was that of a person who had travelled to Kerala from Goa for treatment.
In a series of tweets, Sawant said that the "said patient to our knowledge and as confirmed by Kerala IDSP team is not from Goa and has not travelled from here for lack of health facilities."
He emphasised that Goa has a dedicated COVID 19 Hospital to deal with the pandemic. "7 patients have fully recovered after receiving treatment from the said hospital and we continue to treat COVID 19 patients from Goa as well as from other states," he said.
The chief minister also pointed out that "Goa has outstanding healthcare facilities with Goa Medical College being one of the oldest and finest medical colleges in Asia. "For decades, we have been treating a large number of non-Goan patients, especially from our neighbouring states for different ailments."
Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane also cornered Kerala's health minister and sought clarification over her statement.
"It is disheartening to hear what Shailaja has erroneously stated in the interview on an international platform. In such times when the world stands united, each state is fighting the battle with all its forces, it is my humble request to Shailaja ji to refrain from making incorrect statements that can damage the reputation of our state in any way," he tweeted.
He further said the Kerala minister in her interview had called Goa a Union Territory when it is actually a state.
After careful scrutinization and fact-check, the Goa administration has been informed that the patient was transferred from Mahe in Pondicherry which is a Union Territory, the Goa Minister pointed.
"Initially, Goa had 7 positive COVID-19 cases, and all these cases were cured with no deaths recorded. With a dedicated COVID-19 hospital in place, we also have an exceptional team of doctors, who have a comprehensive COVID-19 treatment plan with state-of-art infrastructure established to manage COVID-19 patients," he said.
Following this, Kerala health minister also took to Twitter to acknowledge that she had intended to say Mahe but had said Goa instead in the media interview.
"While speaking, I intended to say that there were three deaths in Kerala and the fourth one was that of a person from Mahe who came to Kerala due to lack of health facility there. But, mistakenly I said Goa instead of Mahe, part of Puducherry UT, " Shailaja posted on Twitter.
In a subsequent tweet, she said: "I appreciate the works done in Goa regarding containment of the COVID-19 epidemic. I wish you all the very best." (ANI)