Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy said the state government has effectively controlled the COVID-19 pandemic but still precautions must be taken for some more time. The vaccine is expected to come in the next three months, he said.

Concluding a short discussion on COVID-19, the Chief Minister said the state can take pride in recording more than one crore tests and containing the spread effectively but at the same time with the onset of winter there are chances of a possible spike and precautionary measure should be taken for at least three months.

Post elections, the US is reeling under a second wave of COVID-9 cases where two lakh cases are being reported daily and over 2,500 deaths have been reported, Jagan said, adding the United Kingdom, France, and Italy are under lockdown while in India Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have imposed night curfew.

Regarding COVID-19 vaccine, the CM said the Union government had promised the state one crore vaccines in the first phase which will be provided to the seven lakh frontline workers, 3.6 lakh healthcare workers, and 90 lakh senior citizens. The state government has been framing guidelines for the distribution of vaccines and developing storage and transport facilities, he added.

The Chief Minister said that cold chain storage units are needed to store the vaccine between 2-8 degrees Celsius. So far, 4,065 units have been set up, in addition to 29 refrigerated vehicles to transport the vaccine. Since the vaccination has to be done by professionals, 19,000 ANMs will be roped in and even Asha workers will be trained for additional support, Jagan said. The state government had constituted taskforce committees at village, mandal, and district levels to coordinate and for effective implementation.

Jagan said that since March 8.70 lakh people had been affected with COVID-19 while 1.02 crore tests covering almost 20 per cent of the population had been conducted in the state, the highest in the country. While the average positivity rate is 8.51 per cent, the death rate is only 0.81 per cent, he said, adding the government implemented an effective control system by developing testing facilities, setting COVID care centres, and establishing a structured network from 104 toll-free number to telemedicine facility. The number of virology labs quickly went up to 150 and the trace, test, and treat method was effective.

Regarding the Aarogyasri scheme, the Chief Minister said that the government had brought a facelift to the YSR Aarogyasri scheme where a total of 2,436 treatment procedures were included and were made available in 130 state hospitals in Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai. The government had not only cleared the pending bills to the network hospitals during TDP reign but also brought a green channel system, where the bills will be cleared in less than three weeks. He stated that all Aarogyasri hospitals are being graded based on the facilities and infrastructure to ensure best service is being given to the patients and soon all empanelled hospitals will be equipped with a help desk where an Aarogya mitra will be appointed.

The government has been giving up to Rs. 5,000 per month under Aarogya Aasara to support the patients during their recovery period and further providing pensions from Rs. 3,000-10,000 per month to those people suffering from chronic ailments. Besides these, the state government is revamping all the existing hospitals right from PHCs to teaching hospitals under the Nadu Nedu project. Sixteen new medical colleges are to be established in the state with a budget of Rs. 16,000 crores, Jagan said.

Meanwhile, state health minister Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas praised the services of doctors, paramedical staff, employees of village/ward secretariats, volunteers, sanitation workers, ASHA workers and ANMs during the pandemic. He said Andhra Pradesh stood first among the states by conducting 1,91,568 tests per million while the national average was 1,03,502. There are only 6,742 active cases in the state at present, he said.

The minister said an action plan has been developed to distribute COVID vaccine in phases across the state. The state government has given financial assistance along with rice and essential commodities to the poor during the pandemic despite financial constraints. He said 122 APSRTC buses have been converted to mobile sample collection units.

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