Special Chief Secretary (Health) Jawahar Reddy said that the extent of infection must be known to decide on extending a localised lockdown and so more tests will be conducted.

Andhra says all those who went for Nizamuddin meet traced 196 tested positiveImage for representation/PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, April 07, 2020 - 20:22

Andhra Pradesh government is working on increasing the capacity for testing for COVID-19, in order to identify the extent of infection in hotspots across the state, Special Chief Secretary (Health) KS Jawahar Reddy said. Addressing the media on Tuesday, Jawahar Reddy noted that there is a need to understand how much the virus has spread in the hotspots, to decide on the need to extend the lockdown period for these areas. 

“We don’t know what the lockdown situation will be after April 14, the Centre and state will decide that. But in hotspots like Guntur and Vijayawada, and some other towns and villages where there are cases, we may have to continue the lockdown to some extent. For this, we need to find the level of infection,” he said. 

In order to increase testing capacity, the state has ordered around 3 lakh testing kits, Jawahar Reddy said. Stating that the 7 labs in Andhra are currently equipped to perform around 1000 tests per day, he said that soon the capacity will increase up to 3,000 tests per day. 

Speaking about the status of preparedness with respect to hospital and quarantine facilities, he said that arrangements have been for quarantine for those who cannot do so at home, due to socio-economic reasons. Around 20,000 beds for quarantine are being prepared across the state, he said. If the number of COVID-19 cases increases, the same facilities can be converted into isolation wards, he said. 

Up to 500 ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds and around 7,000 non-ICU beds have been arranged in the 13 district COVID-19 hospitals across the state, while the four state-level COVID-19 hospitals (specially meant for cases needing critical care) in Vizag, Vijayawada, Nellore and Tirupati will have up to 500 ventilators, 500 ICU beds and 2,000 non-ICU beds. 

Orders have been placed to acquire more PPE (Personal protective equipment), N95 masks and gloves for health workers and frontline workers, he said, adding that frontline workers have been given prophylactic doses of hydroxychloroquine. He also detailed that staff has been recruited and trained, including specialist doctors, PG students, house surgeons, nursing and paramedical staff. 

Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkatramaiah (Nani) said that all 1,042 people from Andhra who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting at Nizamuddin Markaz have been traced. Most attendees, barring 45 of them, have been tested, and 196 of them tested positive. Around 3,500 of their primary and secondary contacts have also been traced, he said. 

According to data shared by the I and PR Minister, so far, Andhra Pradesh has tested a total of 3,930 samples, of which 3,626 returned negative, and 304 people tested positive. Of these 304 people, 292 are in stable condition, while 1 person is in an ICU. Six people have been discharged and 4 people have died.