Faced with rapidly rising number of COVID-19 infections, Telangana government sends SOS to Centre for 30 lakh doses of vaccine

Published : April 12, 2021 12:18 IST

A street vendor selling face masks in Hyderabad on April 10. Photo: NOAH SEELAM/AFP

Faced with 3,187 new COVID-19 cases in the 24-hour period ending 11 a.m. on April 11, a worried Telangana government has written to the Union government, requesting it to urgently provide the State with at least 30 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine over the next 15 days.

In a letter dated April 10 addressed to Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said: “As you are aware, Telangana State is left with only 5.66 lakh doses of vaccine, which would last for 3 days at maximum. Therefore, I would like to request you to urgently provide at least 30 lakh doses of vaccine to Telangana for the next 15 days.”

The letter is yet another indication of the apprehension felt by the Telangana government as the novel coronavirus spreads across the State. Officials from the Public Health and Family Welfare Department told Frontline that they were aware that only a strict following of COVID-19 safety norms and a sustained vaccination campaign could slow the spread of the virus. Said an official: “We are looking to ramp up the administering of vaccines from the present average of around 1.16 lakh vaccines a day to over 2 lakh a day. But the 5.66 lakh vaccine doses left with us will hardly last the next 3 to 4 days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also called for a ‘vaccine utsav’ between April 11 and 14. How do we undertake this without adequate number of doses? We urgently need 30 lakh doses of the vaccine over the next 15 days.”

The number of coronavirus infections in the State is increasing rapidly. While April 9 saw 2,478 new cases, April 10 witnessed 2,909 new cases and April 11 saw 3,187 new cases, according to a bulletin released by the Telangana Public Health and Family Welfare Department. While Telangana’s cumulative tally rose to 3,27,278 cases on the morning of April 11, the number of active cases stood at 20,184, the highest since October 21. Six deaths were also reported from the State, taking the death toll because of COVID-19 to 1,752. Greater Hyderabad continued to report the highest number of infections—487 cases—while the bordering districts also continued to witness a surge.

According to the latest health bulletin issued by the Director of Public Health and Family Welfare, Telangana’s fatality rate stood at 0.54 per cent as compared with the national average of 1.31 per cent. The government has been encouraging people to test and isolate themselves either at home or in the State-run quarantine centres.