Telangana on high alert over Omicron, but says infra in place to tackle possible surge

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The Telangana government is on high alert to meet any eventuality in the wake of reports of a possible third wave of Covid-19 pandemic triggered by Omicron, a new variant of the virus which has been first reported in South Africa, state government officials said on Sunday.

Following a direction from the Central government, Telangana state health minister T Harish Rao held a high-level meeting to review the preparedness for the situation arising out of the new variant.

Director of public health Dr G Srinivasa Rao said there was no need for people to panic over the new variant of Sars-Cov-2, as the government machinery was fully prepared to handle the surge in Covid-19 infections.

“All that the people should do is to strictly follow the Covid-19 guidelines, including wearing of masks, maintaining of physical distancing and regular sanitisation. They should not let their guard down under any circumstances,” Rao said.

The director said a high alert had been sounded at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad, though there were no direct flights from South Africa to Hyderabad. The number of positive cases for Covid-19 was stable in the state and there was no sudden increase in infections, he said.

“We have enough manpower at the airport and international passengers are being screened. We are also conducting RT-PCR tests at the airport and arrangements are also being made to keep passengers who test Covid-19 positive under 14-day quarantine. So far not a single Omicron case has been reported in India,” Rao said.

He further said the state government had taken a series of measures to improve infrastructure like adding more hospital beds, developing medical oxygen lines to hospital beds and creating infrastructure for paediatric Covid-19 cases, across all government hospitals, so as to prepare for any possible third wave.

On an average, Telangana has been witnessing 100-150 cases per day for the last few weeks. While 90 per cent of eligible individuals have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, 45 per cent have received the second dose.

“Still, there are nearly 25 lakh people in Telangana who have missed-out on the second dose of the vaccine. They all should get their second dose of vaccine at the earliest,” the director of public health said.

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