7 UK returnees to Telangana test positive for Covid-19

Seven travellers from the United Kingdom to Telangana have tested positive for Covid-19, state health officials said on Thursday.

Their samples have been sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) to find out if they had been infected with the new strain of coronavirus.

Officials told state Health Minister Eatala Rajender at a review meeting that those who tested positive are being monitored closely. The health department is also trying to trace those who came in contact with these seven persons.

The Health Minister reviewed the situation in the wake of the concern caused by a new strain of coronavirus found in the UK.

Officials said that 1,200 people reached Telangana either directly from the UK or travelled through the UK since December 9. The health department identified 846 people and conducted tests on them. Seven of them have tested positive. They said those who tested negative are also being monitored.

The Health Minister urged the people to be alert in view of the warning by health experts that the new strain of coronavirus can spread rapidly.

He appealed to the people to limit Christmas and New Year celebrations to their homes and take all precautions suggested by the government to check the spread of the virus. He urged people not to forget wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing their hands frequently.

Rajender said that since vaccine is being seen as the only way to eliminate the fear of coronavirus, the government is making all arrangements to ensure administration of vaccine as and when it is available. He discussed with officials the arrangements for vaccine transportation, storage and distribution.

The minister said 10,000 health personnel are being trained to administer the vaccine. “If they can vaccinate 100 people each, we can administer the vaccine to 10 lakh people every day,” he said.

The government has prepared a plan to vaccinate 70 to 80 lakh people in the first phase. Health, police, municipal and fire personnel and aged people will be covered in the initial phase. The second dose has to be given 28 days after the first dose.

The minister said the required software for vaccine administration programme is ready as he directed the officials to ensure supply of drinking water, tents and chairs at the vaccine centres.

The minister also asked officials to make fool-proof arrangements for the required cold chain, supply of vaccine, training to the personnel and the facilities at the vaccine centres.

The meeting was also attended by health secretary S.A.M. Rizvi, family welfare commissioner Vakati Karuna, medical education director Ramesh Reddy, director of public health Srinivas Rao, Telangana State Medical Infrastructure Development Corporation MD Chandrasekhar Reddy, and member of expert committee on Covid-19, Gangadhar.