Hyderabad: Seven among those who have returned to Telangana state from the United Kingdom have tested positive for Covid-19. Their samples have been sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology for genome sequencing to ascertain whether they have contracted the new strain.
A total of 1,200 persons have returned to the state from the UK in recent times. Of them, 846 persons have been identified.
According to sources, as many as 300 of these returnees are in Hyderabad city, more than 50 in Karimnagar district and about 25 in Warangal and Nizamabad districts. Fear is that these can emerge as the new clusters. The returnees have been urged to contact government officials and quarantine themselves for 14 days.
Due to the festive season, a fear is that those who test negative would not want to be isolated. Health officials are urging them to remain in isolation at their homes and not stir out.
With a large number of asymptomatic carriers being around, it is not clear whether or not they are carriers of the new strain. Officials are tracing them and keeping track of their whereabouts. Those who came in contact with the returnees are also being tracked.
Health minister Etala Rajendra has said Surveillance teams in all districts are on high alert. The Christmas, New Year and Sankranthi celebrations are risky situations this time. In a review meeting on Thursday, the minister agreed to a proposal that the facilities at government hospitals need be strengthened on an urgent basis.
Gandhi Hospital has about 150 beds with oxygen points and 300 intensive care unit beds. The other centres designated for Covid-19 treatment have to start services soon and they need be equipped. As many as 11 CT scan machines and 3 MRI machines will be purchased immediately to deal with the present situation.
A senior health official said, "The outbreak of the new strain has to be controlled. It could be in clusters of those who have returned from the UK. We have to ensure that they are isolated and tested negative. This will help avert a community spread."
The health minister has urged the people to follow safety steps and wear masks regularly while going out of home. Frequent hand-washing and physical distancing are a must....