Hyderabad: Amidst the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, the Telangana director of public health on Thursday said there was no need for a lockdown or new restrictions in the state.
"As per the guidelines, we think about imposing restrictions when the positivity rate is more than 10% and hospitalization is more than 40%. At present, we have all the resources and the state is doing better. The health department has suggested to the government that there is no need to impose any new restrictions. Along with COVID-19, the livelihood of the people is also important," said the director of public health (DPH) Dr. G. Srinivasa Rao.
He said the COVID-19 cases in the state will peak at the end of the month and will decline by mid-February. Stating that Omicron was playing a vital role in this surge in cases, he said, "Our estimates are that more than 70% are Omicron cases. We cannot conduct genome sequencing for everyone. There is no use of it. We have to see if someone has COVID-19 or not. The Omicron variant is in the community so it cannot be contained by testing 300-500 people at the airport." Also, the DPH announced that the health department will not publish Omicron data in the Covid19 bulletin from Thursday.
He said that COVID-19 infections in the state rose by four times with the positivity rate increasing from 1% to 3.5%. In terms of transmissibility, compared to the Delta variant, the Omicron variant is six times faster and the people of Telangana must ensure they take extreme precautions in the coming four weeks, the DPH added.
Dr. Rao said that 90% of cases in the future will likely be Omicron cases. He recommended home isolation for seven days and also asked all private hospitals to follow all treatment protocols and admit patients who are in a serious condition with oxygen levels below 93. "Private hospitals will be directly penalized this time if they are found charging patients unnecessarily and doing unnecessary tests. During the first two waves we requested them but this time we will directly penalize them. The need for hospitals and oxygen is extremely less as compared to the previous waves," the DPH said.
He added that the Telangana government has mobilized two crore rapid antigen kits and one crore home isolation kits. Also, all holidays have been cancelled for the health department staff until further notice. He requested all political parties to cancel their activities for the next four weeks.