Hyderabad: The Telangana director of public health (DPH) on Tuesday said the COVID-19 third wave in the state has come to an end. He urged employees to come back to offices and said online classes for students can now end.
"After only 45-60 days, the third wave has come to an end in Telangana. Thanks to prompt testing, quick distribution of home isolation kits, and administering vaccines, the third wave ended quickly," said Dr. G. Srinivas Rao, the director of public health, while addressing the media on Tuesday.
He said restrictions on mass gatherings and curfews imposed in view of the pandemic in the state have been lifted. The DPH urged the private sector, IT industry, and others that have adapted to the work from home model to return to the offices. "It's time we open our doors. All educational institutes and hostels in the state have started functioning as per the directions of the state government," said Dr. Rao.
He said Telangana saw its peak when the positivity rate was at approximately 4% and hospital bed occupancy at 6%. Now, the positivity rate and bed occupancy have fallen to 2%, he said.
Stating that the COVID-19 variant was weak, the DPH said access to vaccines largely helped people cope with the third wave. "Over 100% of the first dose and 88% of the second dose of the vaccines have been administered in the state, both are higher than the country's average which is 94% for the first dose and 72% for the second dose," the DPH pointed out. He urged everyone eligible to get their booster doses for necessary protection against the virus.
About the Medaram Jatara that is going to be held later this month, the DPH said special medical camps and a 150-bed temporary hospital have been set up.
What after the third wave?
The DPH said it is likely that no variants will emerge in the upcoming months. The reason is that the majority of the population has been vaccinated.
"Further, after studies and observations done by public health specialists across the world, COVID-19 might be deemed normal/seasonal flu instead of a pandemic," he explained.
He said that in another possibility, another variant may emerge in the future but that it would be weak.
"Nevertheless, as per WHO, COVID-19 will be there for a long time and we have to live with it. Even though the third wave has ended, I request everyone to continue following COVID-appropriate behavior," the DPH said.
He also added that it's time to remove work from home and online classes as it is causing mental health problems. "It is also affecting the livelihood opportunities of allied services. Conducting classes online is hampering the mental health and education of our children. If this continues, we will have a literacy issue," added Dr. Rao.