Telangana health dept asks people to carry vaccine certificates

Hyderabad: The Telangana public health department on Thursday has asked people to carry vaccine certificates when they go to public places. G Srinivasa Rao, the director of public health, in a press conference also said that public health officials will randomly go to public places and ask for certificates from people.

“Not getting two doses of the vaccine is equal to suicide. We have around 80 lakh doses available for free in our state. People don’t have to go to private hospitals and pay for it. I urge people to come forward to take them,” he said.

The director said that 25 lakh people in Telangana have not taken the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has recorded a vaccination rate of 107 per cent for the first dose and a meagre 72 per cent for the second dose which poses a cause of concern.

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Talking about masking, the director of public health said that it’s as important as taking vaccines. “We have asked the police to enforce a fine of Rs 1000 in the case of not wearing a mask. It is mandatory to wear masks in all work and public places,” he added.

COVID-19 cases in the state have surged in the last few days. Most of the affected are school-going children. Srinivasa Rao said that children attending residential schools are particularly getting affected due to the close proximity that they live and study in. He also said that the Delta variant and cold winter weather are leading causes for the upsurge.

Of the 325 passengers who were screened at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, a 35-year-old woman who belongs to the Rangareddy district of Telangana, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus while arriving from the UK. So far, she has no symptoms and is in a stable condition.

Her DNA sample has been sent for genome sequencing and she has been put in an isolation ward in Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), director of Public Health and Family Welfare Srinivas Rao said at a press conference here on Thursday, adding that whether she has Omicron or Delta variant will be known only after receiving the genome sequencing results.

This news comes at a time when the United Kingdom has chronicled 32 cases of the deadly Omicron variant so far.

He further argued for doing away with the rapid-RTPCR test at airports which costs Rs 4500 and vouched for the regular RTPCR test. “If the regular test takes 4-6 hours then it is alright for the public to await their results instead of adopting a more expensive alternative,” he added.

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