The Telangana government has declared Sankranthi holidays for all educational institutions across the state between January 8 and 16. The decision coincides with a sudden spike in the number of new Covid-19 infections and was taken Monday during Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s review of the Covid-19 situation prevailing in the state. Meanwhile, officials informed the CM there was no need to impose a lockdown in the state at present.
Rao directed officials to take immediate measures to strengthen the health infrastructure in government hospitals. He said people need not worry about the increase in Covid-19 cases, but asked them to remain cautious and adhere to the protocols issued by the government. The CM has asked officials to increase oxygen production from the present 324 tonnes (earlier increased from 140 tonnes) to 500 tonnes to meet any increased demand in future, and keep ready one crore Covid-19 isolation kits and two crore testing kits. He also asked officials concerned to ensure the availability of doctors and fill up vacancies on priority.
On Day 1, 24,240 children are vaccinated against Covid-19
On the first day of the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination for children in the age group of 15-18 years, about 24,240 beneficiaries across the state received their first jabs. The highest number was administered in Nizamabad district (2,408), followed by Yadadri-Bhongir district (2,294). In Hyderabad, as many as 1,895 adolescents received their first dose of vaccination against Covid-19. The lowest turnout was reported from the Sircilla district (36).
According to Health Minister T Harish Rao, Telangana has an estimated target population of 18,41,000 people in the age group of 15 to 18 years waiting to be vaccinated, and the state government has opened an additional 1,014 vaccination centres to cater to this age group.
Telangana’s first state-wide sero-survey from Tuesday
Telangana will Tuesday begin its first-ever state-wide serological survey to estimate the prevalence of Covid-19. The three-week-long house-to-house survey, to be conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR-NIN) and the state government, will cover 330 villages in 33 districts across the state. According to NIN, the survey will be conducted among the general population and healthcare workers, and blood samples of about 16,000 people will be examined to assess the extent of community spread of the infection.
“In each of the 33 districts, 10 villages will be selected randomly and from each village, 40 people above 6 years of age, both males and females, will be covered. In addition, samples and data will also be collected from healthcare workers in all the districts,” said Dr Avula Laxmiah, Scientist G and Head, Public Health Nutrition Division, ICMR-NIN, who is also heading the survey. “Over 20 teams, each with a scientist/doctor, technician and phlebotomist, 4 coordinators and one lead scientist from NIN will work in tandem with the state health department to complete the survey in about 3 weeks,” added Dr R Hemalatha, director ICMR-NIN.
‘No lockdown or night curfew in Telangana’
On Monday, Telangana reported 482 new infections of Covid-19, almost doubling the numbers recorded the previous day. A steep rise in cases was reported from Rangareddy and Medchal-Malkajgiri districts, abutting state capital Hyderabad. As of date, 4,048 Covid-19 patients are under treatment or isolation in the state, and of them, 1,212 are in hospitals.
Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao rubbished reports of a possible lockdown after some messages emerged on social media. “There will be no lockdown and night curfew in the state, in any circumstances. There is some false/misleading news circulating on social media about lockdown and night curfew. I request you not to carry such rumors,” he said in a statement.