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KTR urges Centre to import unused Covid vaccine stocks

Telangana’s Information Technology and Industry Minister K.T. Rama Rao on Friday targeted the Centre again for its “bungling” on Covid-19 vaccination and demanded that it immediately import vaccines from countries that are sitting on a huge stockpile of unused doses.

He said the Centre should use Rs 35,000 crore it allocated in the Union Budget for 2021-22 to procure vaccines wherever available in the world and provide them free of cost to all the states to speed up the vaccination.

The minister was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of a 150-bed ICU facility for Covid patients at the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), Gachibowli.

KTR, as the minister is popularly known, said the Centre should come forward and take the initiative as the vaccination is the only permanent solution to the pandemic. He demanded that the Centre announce a uniform pricing and distribution policy for Covid vaccines to ensure universal vaccination.

But for “some wrong decisions taken by the Centre”, the vaccination should have been completed by now or at least progressed with brisk pace, he said.

“When we should have procured the vaccines, we did not procure. Instead, we exported to other countries,” he said.

KTR, who is son of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao, pointed out that a country of 132 crore population required 264 crore doses but it did not even have a quarter of this. “Though they (Centre) knew that there are no vaccines available, they announced that people in the 18-44 age group will be vaccinated,” he said.

He said at least now the Centre should procure vaccines from countries sitting on huge stockpiles of unused doses. “My information is that there are 50 crore doses of AstraZeneca vaccine available in the United States and other countries. There are 25 crore doses in the US and another 25 crore in countries like Norway, Denmark and Canada,” he said, demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi should talk to his counterparts in those countries and procure vaccines.

Referring to the pressure on Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute, he said the Centre was using 85 per cent of the doses they were manufacturing while from the remaining 15 per cent, they were supplying to the state governments and private hospitals.

He said Telangana called tenders to procure vaccines and the response would be known later. “Some states called tenders but there no response. Some states spoke to companies like Pfizer and Moderna but they said they were dealing with the government of India.”

Referring to Covid situation in Telangana, he said the state was in much better situation compared to its neighbours and exuded confidence that the number of new positive cases will further come down over next one week.

He claimed that the state government’s strategy of conducting door to door fever survey to identify people with Covid symptoms and distributing medicine kits among them yielded good results and the Centre was replicating this.

KTR said the state focused on expanding health infrastructure and also on creating awareness among people to tackle the pandemic

The minister thanked the IT companies which contributed Rs 15 crore under corporate social responsibility for ICU at TIMS.

Microsoft, Qualcomm, Franklin Templeton, Cognizant, and WellsFargo contributed the money through the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA) for the purpose.

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Telangana to vaccinate students going abroad from June 5

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The Telangana government will roll out Covid-19 vaccination from June 5 for students going abroad for higher education.

A separate facility for vaccination of students going abroad for higher education is proposed to be launched in the Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM), Narayanguda, Hyderabad.

An online slot booking system for the convenience of these students is being developed and will be rolled out on June 4. Link for this facility will be made available at https://www.health.telangana.gov.in Vaccination will commence and slots will be available from June 5.

The state cabinet, at its meeting on May 31, had decided to start vaccinating students going abroad for the higher studies.

It was announced that these students will be vaccinated on a priority based on their admission letters.

Yocket, India’s largest platform for study abroad aspirants, has welcomed the decision by the Telangana government to vaccinate students going abroad for higher studies.

Co-founder and Higher Education Expert, Sumeet Jain, said that this is a welcome step. “This move will bring in a lot of positivity among the students that the people in power do care about them. This is a welcome move and it will give a lot of students to travel with confidence,” he said.

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Hyd airport handles largest consignment of Sputnik V

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GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GHAC) on Tuesday handled largest shipment of Russian made Sputnik V vaccines.

The vaccine consignment arrived from Russia on a specially chartered freighter RU-9450 which touched down Hyderabad Airport at 03.43 hours.

While GHAC has already handled several import shipments of vaccines prior to this, Tuesday’s shipment of 56.6 tonnes of vaccines is the single largest import shipment of Covid-19 vaccines handled in India till date. This shipment completed all processes and was dispatched in less than 90 minutes, GHAC said.

The Sputnik V vaccine requires specialised handling and storage, requiring to be kept at a temperature of -20o C. GHAC has been working closely with the experts from the customer’s supply chain team, officials from customs department and other relevant stakeholders over an extended period of time to ensure that the necessary infrastructure and handling processes are fully in place at the Air Cargo Terminal for smooth handling of the vaccine shipments.

With the smooth handling of this large vaccine import consignment, GHAC has further cemented its position as the largest vaccine import hub for India.

Major pharma companies based in and around Hyderabad are expected to produce or import over 3.5 billion doses of different varieties of Covid vaccines over the next couple of years and GHAC has been gearing up on all fronts to handle the surge in vaccine shipments.

Key elements of the temperature controlled infrastructure at GHAC are all being expanded in terms of both capacities as well as capabilities. Among other measures, GHAC has expanded the capacity of ‘Pharma Zone’, which is India’s first dedicated pharma cargo export terminal and introduced a unique temperature-controlled ‘Cool Dolly’ to safely transport shipments from terminal to the aircraft.

Together, these initiatives enable GHAC to offer an unparalleled and truly unbroken cold chain for vaccines and pharmaceuticals from truck offloading point till aircraft loading, it said.

GHAC has also convened a special task force comprising of Customs authorities, airlines, freight forwarders and other stakeholders to ensure priority handling and speedy clearances for vaccines and other Covid relief materials such as medicines, oxygen concentrators etc.

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Telangana discusses preventive measures for possible third wave

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Top officials of the Telangana government on Tuesday discussed preventive measures for a possible third wave of Covid-19.

Finance Minister T.Harish Rao, who is looking after Medical and Health Department related matters on behalf of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, and Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar held a meeting at State Secretariat.

This comes a day after the state cabinet directed the officials concerned to be alert in view of reports that there is a possibility of a third wave, and asked them to prepare proper action plan.

Harish Rao reviewed with the officials the procurement of medical equipment, oxygen supply and storage units.

The meeting decided that all drivers of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, auto-rickshaw and cab drivers will be provided Covid-19 vaccines from June 3 across the state.

Every day, 10,000 drivers will be vaccinated in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area and other district headquarters. The minister has also reviewed the stock availability of vaccine and allotment of vaccine quota by the Centre, and instructed the officials concerned to pursue and make efforts with the Centre on more allocation of vaccine doses to the state.

Special Chief Secretary, Transport, Roads and Buildings Sunil Sharma, Principal Secretary, Information Technology, Electronics and Communications Jayesh Ranjan, Health Secretary S.A.M. Rizvi, Transport Commissioner M.R.M. Rao, Director, Medical Education, Dr Ramesh Reddy, Director, Public Health, Dr Srinivas Rao, and other officials attended the meeting.

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Pandemic Analysis: Producers in crisis, Stars hands full

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The second wave of coronavirus shattered the dreams of several producers of Telugu cinema. Several Telugu movies that are announced for release during the crucial summer season are pushed and some of them had to end their theatrical run abruptly. There are several projects that are in the last leg of shoots and some of them are half done with the shoots. The producers are now under huge financial stress as they need to hold these projects till the situation turns normal. The final balance sheet of the project will be clear only after the release of the respective project.

The actors are Telugu cinema are not much worried as they are busy signing new projects. None of the actors slashed their remuneration and stood as a support for their producers during this crisis. Some of them are demanding a share from the profits instead of supporting the producers. Most of the stars preferred to charge the same they did before the pandemic arrived. The coronavirus pandemic left a stress among the producers but the story of stars is entirely different. Utilizing the break, most of the stars and young actors signed a bunch of new projects.

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Special vaccination drive continues in Telangana

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Covid-19 vaccination for high risk groups in Telangana was underway in full swing for the third consecutive day on Sunday.

Beneficiaries identified under the category, also known as ‘super spreaders’, lined up at vaccination centres across the state to take the jab.

Under the special drive, the state health authorities plan to cover 7.78 lakh people. Auto rickshaw and cab drivers, Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees, those working in Rythu bazars, grocery shops, wine shops, as street vendors, or in salon shops, laundry service, pan shops and vegetable, fruits, flowers, chicken, meat, and fish markets are being vaccinated under the special drive.

During the last two days, the health authorities vaccinated more than 2.12 lakh people. They included about 50,000 of 45 and above years who received their second dose.

According to Director, Public Health and Family Welfare Dr G. Srinivasa Rao, 1,10,562 people were vaccinated on Saturday. They included 28,382 who received their second jab.

With this, the state has so far administered 59.89 lakh doses. The vaccination is being carried out at 1,069 centres across the state.

Srinivasa Rao said the she state has initiated Covid vaccination for the age group of 18 to 44 years with special drives in all the districts targeting the high risk/vulnerable groups at designated Covid vaccination centres and also permitted private CVCs to vaccinate for 18-44 age group.

On Saturday, 63,364 people in 18-44 age group were vaccinated. Of them 55,247 received the jab in government vaccination centers and remaining 8,117 in private hospitals.

The state has so far vaccinated 1.22 lakh people in 18-44 age group. The special vaccination drive will continue for a week.

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China Jeeyar demands Govt approval for Anandaiah

Finally, the Hindu religious seers are also entering the scene to argue in favour of the Anandaiah ayurvedic medicine. In his latest appeal, China Jeeyar Swamiji has appealed to the Government to stop creating any further hurdles to the administering of the Coronavirus eye drops by Anandaiah.

The Swamiji asked where was the dispute when the Anandaiah medicine was giving good results and saving the lives of the patients. The rulers should accept the good that was happening regardless of the persons who were doing that. Why were the new protocols were suddenly brought in to obstruct the medicine?

China Jeeyar told the YCP Government that it was not correct to create controversies out of nothing during the difficult time of the pandemic. All the people were suffering. At such a time, the rulers should think of solving their problems but not creating more problems. The Hindu society had firm beliefs in ayurvedic medicine. However, it had welcomed and accepted the English medicine as well. This kind of accommodation should be there.

The Swamiji deplored that the present situation in AP was creating fears. One should give courage to the Corona patients but not demotivate them in this crucial time.

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AP warns of criminal cases: remdesivir black sale

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The black marketing of remdesivir injections have been a major concern during the Covid second wave infections. There were reports these injections were being sold at Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000 each in black. The actual price of each injection would be around Rs. 3,000.

In a latest health bulletin, the Central Government has stated that the remdesivir production has been increased significantly in the country. There is no more dearth for this medicine. The manufacturing company has increased remdesivir production by over 10 times and this is far more than the actual demand at the field level. The remdesivir stocks have also been stepped up to meet the future needs.

Amid this, AP Health Minister Alla Nani has issued strong warnings to the hospitals and middlemen if there are any reports of black marketing of remdeisvir injections. The Government would not hesitate to file criminal cases if anybody was caught in this respect.

The patients are asked to call and complain at 104 in case of any instance of exploitation of Covid patients at the private hospitals.

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AP Police shift Anandaiah out of his village

In a sudden crackdown, the police have shifted Anandaiah of Covid herbal cure fame out of his native village, Krishnapatnam, in the Nellore district. The shifting took place in the early hours of today. Yesterday itself, the police tried to do this but the rest of villagers and local public put strong objections to the same. The family members expressed concern over what they describe as ‘severe pressure’ on Anandaiah by some top leaders.

Meanwhile, the opposition leaders have alleged that this is one more attempt by the ruling YSRCP MLAs to force Anandaiah to make his medicine. They are taking it away to fulfil their own selfish interests. All this police action is taking place under the supervision of local YSRCP MLA Kakani Govardhan Reddy.

The rival leaders say that in the past also, the YSRCP leaders kept Anandaiah under illegal detention. During that time also, they made him prepare his herbal concoction in large quantities and snatched it away. While the normal public were not able to get hold of the medicine, the YSRCP leaders were able to forcefully procure the eye drops.

The opposition leaders say that the situation has slipped out of the control of even the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police.

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IT, diaspora bodies launch ‘Covid Dawakhana’ in rural Telangana

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The Telangana Information Technology Association (TITA) and the American Telangana Society (ATS) have come together to launch health services to help patients battling Covid-19 in rural areas in the state.

Both the organisations on Friday announced their plan of action to deal with the raging pandemic through the TITA’s TConsult initiative that helped the masses during the first wave of Covid deal with various health issues.

The TITA and the ATS have launched joint efforts by establishing the first-ever Covid Dawakhana at the Zilla Parishad High School in Maganur.

Principal Secretary, IT and Industry, Jayesh Ranjan launched the first Covid Dawakhana virtually on Friday. Narayanpet District Collector Dasari Harichandana appreciated the initiative launched by TITA global President Sundeep Kumar Makthala.

The TITA plans to expand services across the state in the coming days. At the launch of the services, villagers availed online medical advice on Covid from doctors at nine sub-centres.

Worried at the pandemic affecting people in rural areas, the ATS decided to provide online health and medical services to the masses. Representatives from the ATS approached the TITA to reach out to the people to provide health services. Makthala, after visiting various places, selected Maganur to provide online medical and health services to people.

Maganur has a population of 56,000 with nine sub-centres. The district hospital is 42 km away from the village. The Zilla Parishad High School (ZPHS) was converted into Covid Dawakhana to treat better medical services to the locals.

At the medical centre, patients can avail doctors’ services through online consultation. For this, TConsult app services, an initiative of TITA, is being utilised, while ATS will provide financial and health services.

Two doctors will be available online to offer services, while two health volunteers will be available at the Covid Dawakhana. The TITA has offered to provide technical and other local logistics and arrangements at the medical centre.

Representatives of the American Telangana Society, its Chairman Karunakar Madhavaram, President Narendar Chemarla, Covid Dawakhana programme advisor Dr Dilip Berelli, former president Satyanarayana Reddy Kandimalla, General Secretary Venkat Mantena and other executive members were at the forefront in implementing the initiative.

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Andhra converts RTC buses into Covid facilities for remote areas

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The Andhra Pradesh government has converted Road Transport Corporation (RTC) buses into treatment facilities for Covid patients who live in remote and inaccessible areas of the state.

Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah on Thursday said that the RTC sleeper buses, equipped with oxygen cylinders, would be stationed in forest areas, which lack adequate medical and health infrastructure.

So far, these modified buses are being stationed at Buttayigudem, KR Puram and other places under the forest agency areas of the state.

The Minister said that ten modified sleeper buses are being equipped with oxygen beds.

Andhra Pradesh has been reporting Covid cases from rural and interior areas for the past many days. On an average, the state has been clocking around 17,000 Covid cases per day, while nearly 100 persons are succumbing to the virus.

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India to produce 259cr Covid vax doses by year-end

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India will produce 259 crore doses of various Covid-19 vaccines by the end of 2021, Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said on Thursday.

He claimed that the Centre is making all efforts to ramp up vaccine production in the country and exuded confidence that by December the monthly production of Covid vaccines will go up to 59 crore doses.

The minister told reporters after visiting government-run ENT Hospital here that 16 companies will manufacture the vaccines in the country.

“Three companies have already started production while some more will start manufacturing by August-September,” he said.

He said Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin formula has been shared with five companies which will manufacture the vaccine to meet the demand.

While Dr Reddy’s Laboratories will manufacture Sputnik V under a pilot, a total of seven companies in India will be manufacturing the Russian vaccine.

He said Biological E will soon start production of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in the country. “If Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes, one dose will be enough. Other vaccines will be available in two doses while Zydus Cadila’s vaccine will have three doses,” he said.

Reddy revealed that the Centre has made arrangements for production of 8.80 crore vaccines in May. This number will go up to 10 crore in June, 17 crore in July, 19 crore in August and 42 crore in September.

“The production will be ramped up further to 46 crore in October and 56 crore in November. By December the monthly production of vaccines will be 59 crore,” he said.

The minister said the government would ensure vaccination of as many people as possible by the end of this year.

Kishan Reddy, who visited ENT Hospital designated as nodal hospital for treatment of Mucormycosis also known as black fungus, said the government was also taking steps to overcome shortage of Liposomal Amphotericin B injection for treatment of black fungus.

He said central and state governments were making efforts on war footing to increase the production of the drug. There are 11 pharma companies in India which produce Liposomal Amphotericin B.

He assured that if necessary the government would extend help to the companies and provide raw materials to ramp up production.

Reddy said the government was also taking steps to import the drug from various countries. Two lakh injections will be imported in the first week of June. He hoped that this would help overcome the shortage.

He claimed that from the current available stocks, the Centre was making allocations to states based on their requirement and the number of cases of black fungus. He pointed out that Telangana was provided 5,690 vials of the injection.

Reddy said hospitals used to get one case of black fungus in six months and pharma companies had decreased the production of the drug. He pointed out that black fungus was being reported among diabetic who had post-Covid complications.

The ENT Hospital has 120-150 beds but in view of the increase in number of cases, the officials are making efforts to increase this number to 250.

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Chiranjeevi’s Oxygen Banks Mission

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Nidhhi Agerwal to start one-stop organisation for Covid-related aid

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Actress Niddhi Agerwal is set to launch an organisation called Distribute Love, which will be a one-stop destination for all requirements that are Covid-related.

The actress, says she has put together a team to look into every request that comes through the website of the initiative.

“I am starting a charitable organisation. It’s called Distribute Love. It’s a website where people can put in their requests, and I can provide them whatever help is possible. It could be basic necessities, medication, or whatever they might need,” she told IANS.

“This is especially for Covid. I have a team that is working with me, and we will be able to arrange things. Once we start rolling, we will look at the requests and decide how we want to take things further,” said the actress, who made her debut in the 2017 Bollywood film “Munna Michael” and has since then worked in Tamil and Telugu films.

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Telangana governor lauds NRIs’ role in Covid-19 relief

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Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan on Tuesday lauded the efforts of the Indian Diaspora for their role in extending relief material to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Respecting their roots and with great love for the motherland, many organisations and individuals supporting Indians all over the world are extending great help to the needy back home,” she said.

The governor was speaking while handing over 300 oxygen concentrators, donated by the IT Serve Alliance, Dallas, Texas, USA, to their representatives in Hyderabad at Raj Bhavan, here.

The oxygen concentrators will be distributed to the needy IT Serve Alliance staff and their family members working here.

On the occasion, the governor virtually interacted with the IT Serve Alliance national president Raghu Chittimalla and the organisation’s Dallas chapter president, Viswa Kandi.

Tamilisai Soundararajan said that their timely response to provide a total of 500 oxygen concentrators and 20 ventilator beds to the people in India was truly appreciable and inspiring to many others.

She said that it was time that we all rise to the occasion to help the suffering mankind and help it overcome the pandemic through our collective efforts.

Governor’s Secretary K. Surendra Mohan, IT Serve Alliance, Hyderabad chapter, representatives Ravi Teja, V. Adinarayana Reddy, D. Rama Krishna, K. Adi Narayana Reddy and others were present.

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NTR recovers from COVID-19

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Young Tiger NTR is tested positive for coronavirus couple of weeks ago. The top actor is in home isolation and is taking the advice from the doctors. Tarak recovered completely from coronavirus and the actor took his social media page to inform the same. “Happy to state that I’ve tested negative for Covid 19. Thank you everyone for all the wishes. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my doctors -Dr Praveen Kulkarni & my cousin Dr Veeru from KIMS Hospitals, as well as Tenet Diagnostics. Their excellent care helped me a lot” posted NTR.

On the work front, NTR is all set to resume the shoot of RRR along with Ram Charan in the direction of SS Rajamouli. He has a film lined up with Koratala Siva that will start soon after he is done with the shoot of RRR. NTR also signed a film for Prashanth Neel and the project kickstart next year.

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KCR asks Harish to divert budget to police, health depts to fight corona!

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Monday asked finance minister T Harish Rao to divert budget of other departments to medical and health departments to fight corona.

KCR asked Harish to do a review and identify departments that incur lower expenditure this year due to corona and lockdown and divert these funds to police and health departments, which are incurring higher expenditure in the present circumstances.

KCR held a review meeting with Harish and senior officials at Pragathi Bhavan.

KCR directed officials to effectively implement ‘dual-pronged strategy’ to contain corona in Telangana.

He asked officials to continue door-to-door fever survey and supply medical kits to those who were identified with corona symptoms in the survey.

KCR also asked officials to increase corona tests significantly.

He directed them to procure 50 lakh rapid antigen test kits for the purpose.

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Rashmika Mandanna launches initiative to highlight those helping others amid Covid

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Actress Rashmika Mandanna, who is known for her work in Telugu films, launched an initiative called Spreading Hope, to highlight those who have been helping others amidst the pandemic. The actress posted an Instagram video on Monday to share the news.

“Over the next couple of weeks, I want to highlight ordinary people doing extraordinary stuff, which has given me hope, and put a smile on my face. It made me realise that when we are fighting against something like this, there is absolutely no barrier of language or places where they are from,” she says in the video.

On the work front, Rashmika has two Bollywood films lined up — “Mission Majnu” with Sidharth Malhotra and the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer “Goodbye”. She also has the Telugu film “Pushpa” opposite Allu Arjun.

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Official visits Hyderabad crematoriums amid complaints of overcharging

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A top Telangana government official on Monday made a surprise visit to crematoriums in Hyderabad amid public complaints that caretakers are charging hefty amounts for the last rites.

Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Arvind Kumar visited the crematoriums located in Punjagutta, Bansilalpet and Jubilee Hills to check whether extra money was being charged from people.

To make sure people were not forced to shell out extra money to perform the last rites of their departed, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has started displaying the charges at crematoriums last week.

The rate for conducting the last rites on a funeral pyre using wood is Rs 8,000 and the charge for electric cremation is Rs 4,000.

Arvind Kumar also looked into the amenities at the crematoriums and checked the electric cremation facility in Punjagutta as well. He was accompanied by GHMC Khairatabad zonal Commissioner P. Pravinya and other civic officials.

The inspection came amid reports that caretakers of crematoriums in the city were charging anywhere between Rs 25,000 to Rs 70,000 for the last rites as the number of cremations has increased in view of deaths due to Covid-19.

The caretakers are reportedly collecting the charges in cash and not issuing any receipts. Though the rules say that those who die at government hospitals should be cremated free of cost, their families are being make to shell out money.

In view of the complaints of overcharging, the GHMC, apart from fixing the prices for cremations, has also set up help desks at the crematoriums and put up banners on the charges to be collected.

It said that if any citizen finds that crematoriums are collecting more than prescribed charges, they can call on 040-21111111.

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Covaxin trials on children likely from next month

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Bharat Biotech may commence paediatric trials of its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin from June, a senior company official said.

The vaccine maker has already received permission to carry out trials on children aged 2-18 years.

Bharat Biotech’s Business Development & International Advocacy Head, Dr Raches Ella, exuded confidence that vaccine for kids may get the license in the third quarter of this year.

Holding a virtual conversation with members of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) Hyderabad on “All About Vaccines, he said that the company expected approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Covaxin by the end of third or fourth quarter.

Ella also said Bharat Biotech will be ramping up manufacturing capacity of Covaxin to 700 million doses by the end of this year.

“We are happy to have the full support of the government because of which we are able to stand where we are today in this journey. The vaccine is co-developed by us and ICMR. The Government placed an advanced purchase order of Rs 1,500 crore. This will help us to increase our risk appetite. That is why we are expanding to Bangalore and Gujarat,” he said.

Also seeking to dispel various myths about vaccines, he said that they are safe and everyone should take vaccines.

Replying to a query by Consultant, Breast Oncology & Oncoplastic Surgeon, Dr Pragnya Chigurupati, who moderated the talk, Ella said the success probability of a vaccine is just 6 per cent from discovery to development.

“”In normal circumstances, the development of a vaccine takes anywhere between 7 to 10 years, which we have done in the least possible time. This was never taught in books. This is something I learned practically. The journey was challenging, promising, and fulfilling,” he said.

Asked about dosing intervals he said ideally the gap should be between two weeks and can go up to six weeks. “If for some reason you miss that schedule, you need not get panicked. You can go and take the second dose anytime possible but at the earliest possible time.”

Three months after the second dose, a good antibody response can be developed. Talking about a booster dosage he said the current vaccines are doing good enough but it will depend on future variants of the virus if any booster doses needs to be taken or not.

About herd immunity, he said if the majority of the population are inoculated, that is when herd immunity can be achieved. About cross-matching of different vaccines he said: “As of now, no mix and match. The studies are on, if proved well, then we can take a call in the future”.

Stressing that no vaccines offer 100 per cent protection, he said that the vaccine efficacy can be improved up to 100 per cent protection by Covid appropriate behaviour and following other safety protocols.

Asked why people still get Corona even after taking the first dose, he replied that the first dose gives only partial efficacy. “That is because your immune system takes time to develop. It is a biological process and the system needs some time. The severity of the Covid effect will be a lot less after the second dose,” he said.

On distribution, he said right now they are allowed to sell vaccines to the Union government, the state governments, and private hospitals in the ratio of 70:20:10. If any corporates plan to inoculate their staff, they may collaborate with private hospitals, he said.

FLO Hyderabad Chairperson, Uma Chigurupati described Covid-19 as a global health crisis. She pointed out that India is the worst hit and has surpassed Brazil.

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