Amid growing concerns over a new strain of novel coronavirus detected in foreign countries, the Telangana health department Tuesday informed that it is in the process of tracking and tracing 358 passengers who have returned to the state in the last seven days with a travel history to the UK. In less than 24 hours, 158 of them have been traced and are being monitored, said Dr. G Sreenivasa Rao, director of public health, Telangana, adding that all seven passengers who arrived Monday have tested negative for the virus and were quarantined.
Rao said all international passengers arriving in Hyderabad will be kept under surveillance and monitored for their health status. A separate control room for those who have returned from the UK and 11 other countries, such as Australia, South Africa, Italy, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, etc, has been set up.
“We have alerted all line departments and intensified the surveillance at the airport. A team of 50 people is on the round-the-clock surveillance job. We request those who have returned from the UK, European Union and certain other countries where this new variant has been found to call up 040-24651119 and inform the health department, get tested and be monitored for the next 14 days,” Rao told reporters here. “At one point, over 70,000 international travelers were in surveillance. The same process will continue. We have facilities for institutional quarantine for 1000 persons, if necessary,” he added.
Given the upcoming Christmas, New Year, and Sankranti festivities, he appealed to the public to be responsible and restrict the celebrations to their homes. “We are fully geared up to tackle a second wave though COVID-19 has been under control in Telangana. The test positivity ratio, new infections, fresh admissions into hospitals, recovery rate, and mortality rate are all under control.”
Regarding the rollout of the COVID vaccine, he said the state is ready to vaccinate 2.88 lakh health workers, personnel from other departments who are on the forefront fighting COVID-19, and persons above the age of 50 years and those with co-morbidities but below the age of 50 years to be vaccinated. “We are keeping cold storage facilities ready for 3 crore vaccine doses at state level apart from the district level. All the necessary training for frontline workers will be over by December 23, different committees have been constituted, and public representatives are being involved for creating awareness,” he told reporters.
RT-PCR rates further lowered
On Tuesday, the health department informed that the maximum rates chargeable for RT-PCR tests in Telangana have been lowered.
The Director of Public Health, in an official order, said the maximum rates chargeable for testing (RT-PCR) by private NABL and ICMR approved laboratories in the state is now Rs 500 (including all charges- test cost plus PPE) instead of Rs 850, if samples are collected at labs/hospitals, and Rs 750 (instead of Rs 1200) if samples are collected from home(including all charges- test cost plus PPE)
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