Hyderabad: The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has granted the Telangana government conditional exemption to deploy drones to deliver vaccines.

The permission has been granted for conducting experimental delivery of COVID-19 vaccines within the Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) range using drones. The exemption is valid for a period of one year or until further orders. These exemptions shall be valid only if all conditions and limitations are strictly adhered to.

Trials will also assist in assessing conditions such as population, degree of isolation, and geography to identify regions that specifically require drone deliveries.

Earlier this month, similar permission was granted to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting feasibility study of COVID-19 vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.

The grant of these permissions is intended to achieve the dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery and improved healthcare access by ensuring primary healthcare delivery at the citizen's doorstep; limiting human exposure to COVID-congested or COVID-prone areas through aerial delivery; ensuring access to health care to the last mile, especially in remote areas; possible integration into the middle mile of medical logistics for long range drones; and improving medical supply chain, especially with a third vaccine expected to be commissioned and millions of doses to be transported across India

Meanwhile, Telangana reported 7,646 new COVID-19 cases and 53 deaths on Thursday.

The overall tally in the state has now risen to 4,27,960. The state has 77,727 active cases currently.

The state reported 53 deaths on Wednesday. With this, the overall death toll has reached 2,261. The fatality rate in the state is 0.51 percent which is less than the national average of 1.1 percent.

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) reported 1,441 new cases. Neighboring Rangareddy district reported 484 new cases. Medchal Malkajgiri reported 631 new cases.

Other districts of Telangana are also seeing a steep surge in cases. Sangareddy reported 401 new cases while Nizamabad 330 cases, Siddipet reported 289 cases, Nalgonda reported 285 new cases, and Suryapet 283 cases.

Around 5,926 citizens recovered from the infection on Thursday taking total recoveries to 3,55,618 in the state. The recovery rate, as per the government, now stands at 81.63 percent. The national average is 82 percent.

The government tested 77,091 citizens on Thursday. The testing in the state is decreasing day by day. So far 1,29,05,854 samples have been tested in the state. The test positivity rate (TPR) in the state is 9.9 percent. Samples tested per million population stand at 3,46,745. Reports of 4,492 samples are awaited. The state tested 49.8 percent of primary contacts while 12.5 percent secondary contacts.

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