494 new cases take Telangana Covid-19 count past 3,000

Due to increasing cases, a Covid-19 ward was reopened in Khammam on Thursday after four months

Hyderabad: Covid-19 cases continued to spike on Thursday, with 494 new cases taking the total case count in the state past the 3,000 mark, to 3,048. Hyderabad accounted for 315 of these cases, according to the health bulletin.

On Wednesday, 434 new cases were reported across the state and 292 in Hyderabad.

On Thursday, Ranga Reddy district reported 102 new cases and Medchal Malkajgiri, 31. A total of 126 patients recovered on the day, while 37 patients were under treatment at hospitals.

Meanwhile, doctors said the bulk of the Covid tests in Telangana were of the Rapid Antigen type, and not the gold standard RT-PCR test. Doctors were worried that the immune escaping variants in circulation could spread faster if suspects are not tested properly. A positive RAT result means Covid positive. But a negative RAT result could well be a false result. At least 50 per cent of RAT test results are not reliable. Government must focus on conducting only RT-PCR tests, doctors said.

A global platform, meanwhile, revealed that 20 per cent of the new cases in the state are of the BA.5 variant of Omicron. According to GISAID, the numbers of BA.4 and BA.2.12.1 are reducing.

Dr Kiran Madhala, head of department, critical care department, Nizamabad Government Hospital, said that these three variants are termed “stealth variants” because of their ability to escape immunity and that 50 per cent of the cases worldwide are of these three variants.

Further, every ninth case in the country is of the BA.5 variant, Dr Madhala said.

Due to increasing cases, a Covid-19 ward in Khammam was reopened on Thursday after four months, public health director Dr G. Srinivasa Rao said.

Rao said that such wards are kept open even if the number of patients is few. He said that such facilities are operational in Hyderabad as well, with most of those undergoing treatment having mild symptoms.

“With fewer beds, we have been continuing to run Covid-19 wards even after the end of the third wave. Covid is not yet over,” he said.

Dr M. Raja Rao, Superintendent of Gandhi Hospital, which was the nodal hospital for treating Covid patients, has warned people "not to take it easy" over the warnings issued by the health department on following the mask mandate and other precautions.

Dr Raja Rao said, "No one has a clear idea of the complications that follow a Covid infection. Though the symptoms of the current variants might be mild, there is no real idea of the variant will behave."

He said initial indications are that the current variants of the Coronavirus and its sub-lineages in circulation are escaping vaccine and previous infections induced immunity, and that there is every change of reinfection among those who are vaccinated, or have been previously infected by the Coronavirus.

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