Telangana says seasonal diseases like dengue are bigger concern now than Covid

Even as coronavirus infections have gone up in the past three days in Telangana, the health department has ruled out the possibility of a fourth wave of the pandemic, but asked the public to be wary of a possible dengue outbreak, especially in greater Hyderabad.

Addressing the media on Friday, director of health Dr G Srinivas Rao said dengue cases were on the rise in the state capital. He said 158 cases of dengue had been recorded in Greater Hyderabad this year. Over 100 cases of them were reported in April and May.

“We can rule out the fourth wave as no new variants of the coronavirus are reported. We have seen eight cases of the BA 4 variant and five cases of the BA 5 variant in the past few weeks. These are sub-variants of Omicron and more than 60 per cent of cases being reported in the state are BA 2 sub-variant of Omicron. As a majority of our population have developed hybrid immunity during the Omicron wave through infections and vaccination coverage, we do not see a threat as of now,” said Dr Rao, adding that a surge in Covid cases was inevitable as was being seen across the country.

He said 103 of the dengue cases were reported in government hospitals and 55 from private hospitals.

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Stating that Telangana had never withdrawn its mask mandate, he advised people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour in public and get booster doses of vaccines without delay.

“After about 10 weeks, daily cases have now started to go past the 100 mark. Our test positivity rate is still at 0.9 per cent,” he said. There are 811 active cases in the state. Of them, 560 are in Hyderabad, followed by 136 in Rangareddy district and 52 in Medchal Malkajgiri district.

“There is nothing to worry about. We have recorded zero Covid deaths in the past eight weeks. The cases we are presently seeing are mere mild symptomatic cases and no local clusters of Covid have come to our notice so far,”the health director said.

Against the backdrop of rising cases of coronavirus across the country, the Andhra Pradesh High Court recently asked the department to increase the number of daily tests. Dr Rao said the department was conducting anywhere between 10,000 and 14,000 tests a day. “We are going to further increase the number of tests. The surveillance mechanism is being further intensified as is the genome sequencing of random samples of international passengers arriving in the city,” he said.

Terming seasonal diseases a bigger concern at the moment, Dr Rao said the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation had been conducting anti-larval operations against vector-borne diseases and advised the people to get medical help when required.

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