New COVID-19 cases see a sharp rise in Telangana

Published : January 06, 2022 20:48 IST

School children receive COVID-19 vaccine doses at a government school in Hyderabad on January 6. Photo: PTI

With the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic beginning to sweep across Telangana—the State saw the number of new cases jumping to 1,520 on January 5—officials from the Health Department monitoring the situation are an extremely worried lot.

And worse, with a positivity rate of nearly 3.6 per cent and a doubling rate of 2.5 days, Telangana will, according to officials from the Health Department, hit a single-day peak of over 10,000 cases within the next 15 days if the present trend were to continue. On January 4, Telangana recorded 1,052 new COVID-19 cases, more than double of the previous day. With the spread much faster than in the previous two waves, officials are worried that the infection may spread to rural areas as well.

During the first wave, the first major spike in the number of cases took 27 days. It took 12 days during the second wave.

Sounding a note of caution, Dr G. Srinvasa Rao, Telangana’s Director of Public Health, acknowledged that the doubling rate of infections was very quick in the third wave as compared with the first two waves of the pandemic. Health officials also averred that it was likely that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has already spread in the community, could be accounting for 70 per cent of all COVID-19 cases. But, as the Director admitted, the State was not in a position to conduct genome sequencing on all the samples so as to get an accurate picture of the number of Omicron cases. The cumulative number of Omicron cases in Telangana was 94 on January 5, and with 43 people having recovered, the number of active Omicron cases stands at 51.

Given the spurt in infections in the State, Srinvasa Rao wants all politicians to suspend political activities for at least the next four weeks. Said the Director: “Given the COVID-19 situation, and the sharp rise in the number of cases across the country, the Health Department is requesting leaders of all political parties and people’s organisations to postpone or cancel all political activities for the next four weeks. Whether it is meeting your party cadre or holding meetings, please stop mass contact activities for the next four weeks. This is in public interest.” Health Department officials are also urging only those who are symptomatic to undergo testing.

In a bid to tackle the rapidly increasing number of cases and as a precautionary measure, the Telangana government has cancelled all holidays for personnel working in the Health Department. However, the Director categorically stated that there will be no lockdown or imposition of any major restrictions. According to him, lockdowns only affect badly the livelihoods of people.

Srinivasa Rao was optimistic that if people followed COVID-19-appropriate protocols, the State could come out of the third wave and expect some normalcy in four to six weeks.

According to the Telangana government’s COVID-19 portal, the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for 979 of the new cases, followed by Ranga Reddy (174) and Medchal Malkajgiri (132) districts. The number of active COVID-19 cases in Telangana as of January 5 stood at 6,168.