Hyderabad: In view of the rising COVID-19 cases in Telangana, the health officials in the state have advised the public, especially those who come under the vulnerable groups, to keep away from any Holi festivities.
"People above the age of 60 years and those with comorbidities must keep away from celebrations. While others who intend to participate in the festivities should follow COVID-19 guidelines. Wear a mask, maintain social distance this Holi, and please take necessary precautions. Citizens should remember that there is an increase in COVID-19 cases," said Director of Public Health (DPH) Dr G. Srinivasa Rao. Meanwhile, the state on 26 March reported 495 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, the officer added, "Holi is followed by Ugadi, Easter and Ramzan. Citizens should be careful and practice COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. Over the last 15 days, there has been an increase in cases, However, the crisis in Telangana is not as critical as the neighbouring states like Maharashtra or Kerala," he added.
Amid rumours of another lockdown in Telangana, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao clarified that the government has no plans for a shutdown.
Speaking in the ongoing state Assembly session on 26 March, KCR had said that, "At any cost, there won't be a lockdown in Telangana and the public need not panic. Citizens are advised to wear masks, maintain social distance and regularly sanitize. At large gatherings like weddings or public meetings, I request the organisers to reduce the number of participants to curb the spread of the virus."
He further added, "The government was forced to temporarily close education institutions in view of the rising cases and as a precautionary measure to safeguard children But, the state government has no immediate plans to impose any further restrictions on other sectors."
In view of the current situation, the state Health Minister Eatala Rajender directed all hospitals to be ready with medical services if the cases increase, and also increase the number of RT-PCR tests in the state.
The minister also asked officials concerned to make sure that there are enough PPE kits, N-95 masks, Remdesivir injections, and antiviral tablets for everyone. "No matter how many steps the government takes, restricting COVID-19 is only possible with the full participation of the public. Do not act negligently towards the spread of COVID-19," said the minister.
Explaining the state's preparedness to tackle any outburst of cases the officials added that Telangana has close to 10,000 oxygen beds, 1,700 ventilators and Cpap machines. The community centres are being equipped with equipment that is usually available in Intensive Care Units. These facilities are available at district headquarters and in interior parts of the state.