Seven UK returnees to Telangana test positive, samples sent to see if a new variant exists

The Telangana Health Department is tracking down those who came into contact with these seven people.

As many as seven UK (UK) returnees to Telangana tested positive for the coronavirus, state health officials said Thursday. In the wake of concerns about a new coronavirus strain, their samples were sent to the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) for further study. Officials told state health minister Eatala Rajender at a review meeting that those who tested positive were closely monitored. The Department of Health is also tracking down those who came into contact with these seven people.

The Minister of Health re-examined the situation in the wake of concern over a new strain of coronavirus found in the UK. Officials said 1,200 people had reached Telangana directly from the UK or traveled through the UK since 9 December. The Department of Health identified 846 people and conducted tests on them. Seven of them tested positive. They said those who tested negative are also being monitored.

The health minister urged people to stay alert ahead of the warning from health experts that the new strain of coronavirus can spread quickly. He appealed to people to limit Christmas and New Year celebrations in their homes and take all precautions suggested by the government to control the spread of the virus. He urged people not to forget to wear masks, keep physical distances and wash their hands frequently.

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

The minister said 10,000 health professionals were trained to administer the vaccine. “If they can vaccinate 100 people each, we can give 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. In the initial phase, health, police, municipal, fire brigade and elderly services will be covered. The second dose should be administered 28 days after the first dose. The minister said the software needed for the vaccine delivery schedule was ready as he ordered officials to ensure the supply of clean water, tents and chairs to the vaccination centers.

The minister also asked officials to make foolproof arrangements for the required cold chain, the provision of vaccines, the training of staff and facilities at the vaccination centers.

The meeting was also attended by Health Secretary SAM Rizvi, Family Welfare Commissioner Vakati Karuna, Director of Medical Education Ramesh Reddy, Director of Public Health Srinivas Rao, MD Chandrasekhar Reddy of Telangana State Medical Infrastructure Development Corporation and member of the expert committee on COVID-19, Gangadhar.