Cautioning people against a third wave, the Director of Public Health said that there could soon be an informal mandate.

A staff member wearing mask working at a bar and restaurant after Delhi government permitted reopening of bars with 50% seating occupancyImage for representation/PTI
news Coronavirus Sunday, August 01, 2021 - 09:21

Urging the people of Telangana to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Telangana Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao suggested that the state might introduce a vaccine pass, restricting entry to public places like malls, movie theatres and restaurants to only people who were vaccinated. “In the coming days, in order to protect ourselves and our children, there could be an informal mandate for people working in and visiting malls and other commercial establishments like restaurants and cinema theatres, that only if you get the vaccine, you will be allowed,” Srinivasa Rao said. Noting that such measures have been introduced in some countries already, he said that, “unless we take such strict measures, we will be in deep trouble.”

Stating that the state has lifted COVID-19 restrictions in the interest of economic revival and protecting livelihoods, he urged people to continue following COVID-19 protocol including wearing masks outside as well as indoors. Srinivasa Rao said currently, the R naught value for COVID-19 (the reproduction rate of the virus indicating how many people an infected individual can pass on the virus to) in Telangana is 0.75. He said that to stop the state from seeing a spike in cases and entering a third wave of COVID-19, people must exercise self-precaution. “In the coming days, surveillance will be intensified at the borders, at airports and railway stations,” he said. 

In three districts of Telangana where serosurveillance studies were conducted, 63% of the population was found to have been exposed to the virus, he said, noting that the susceptible population of people who are yet unexposed or unvaccinated need to be more careful. Acknowledging that two cases of infections from Delta plus variant had been detected in Hyderabad earlier in May, Srinivasa Rao said that the patients have since fully recovered, and their contacts who were traced and tested did not reveal any more Delta plus variant cases. Noting that some vaccination centres within GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) limits have had vaccine shortage, he said that the state received 5 lakh Covishield doses on Friday, and additional Covaxin supply has been requested from the Union government. Over the next couple of weeks, administration of the second dose of the vaccine will be prioritised, he said. 

With France recently passing a law requiring a special virus pass, with either vaccination or a negative test or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 needed for entry into restaurants and other places, the country has seen recurring protests against the move. 

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