Telangana logs 337 new cases;Govt says pandemic under control, asks people not to venture out unless emergency

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(Eds: Updates with Health Minister'squotes) Hyderabad, Mar 22 (PTI) Telangana recorded 337 new COVID-19 cases and two related deaths, taking the infection tally to 3,03,455 and the toll to 1,671 respectively, the state government said on Monday.

Amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases in recent days, state Health Minister E Rajender held a meeting with top officials and asked people not to venture out of their homes unless there was an emergency and follow norms such as use of face masks and social distancing.

He, however, assured that the pandemic was under control in the state as he announced measures, including stepping up the testing, and asked officials to keep adequate stock of medicines, masks and other items in hospitals as part of preventive initiatives.

A total of 2,958 patients were under treatment, the government said in a bulletin, providing data as of 8 PM on March 21.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation reported the maximum of 91 cases followed by Ranga Reddy (37) and Medchal Malkajgiri districts (28).

The state has been witnessing a gradual spurt in cases for the past over 10 days with a large number of infections being reported from a few schools in the state.

'Coronavirus is fully under control in Telangana. The state government is on alert as cases are rising in neighbouring states. Foolproof measures are being taken to check coronavirus spread and Telangana is safe in terms of COVID-19,' Rajender said.

He held a high-level review meeting with Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Health Secretary Syed Ali Murtaza Rizvi, according to an official release.

At the meeting, the Minister asked the officials to ensure hospitals were ready to handle the increased number of COVID-19 cases.

N95 masks, Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs), injections and other medicines should be adequately stocked, he said.

'We have decided to conduct at least 50,000 tests per day. The number will further increase and most of the tests will be RT-PCR,' he said.

However, he said whatever steps the government took would not be sufficient to check the coronavirus unless people follow the COVID appropriate behaviour.

They should wear masks, wash hands regularly and always maintain physical distance, the Minister said, adding people should not come out of homes unless theres an emergency.

A total of 37,079 samples were tested on March 21.Cumulatively, the number of samples tested was96,50,662.

The bulletin said 181 people had recovered on Sunday, taking the total number of recoveries to 2,98,826.

The recovery and case fatality rates in the state stood at 98.47 per cent and 0.55 per cent respectively, compared to the national average of 95.7 per cent and 1.4 per cent, it added.PTI VVK VS VS