Cost of COVID-19 tests in private labs may further go down: Etela Rajender, Health Minister, Govt of Telangana

Etela Rajendra
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The cost of COVID -19 tests in private labs may go down further in near future from the current level of Rs 850/- as fixed just recently hinted Etela Rajender, Health Minister Government of Telangana.

The cost of the RT-PCR, a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction

(rRT-PCR) the test was costing thousands till now in those private labs. We never wanted to permit private labs to test COVID as they charge exorbitantly, But, because of various reasons, we were compelled to permit them. The prices were beyond the reach of many common people. Now we have brought it down to Rs 850/- just a few days back and it might go down further in next few days, maybe 10 days or more he informed while addressing at the Panel Discussion on ‘Safe re-opening of schools after Covid lockdown’ at Hitex. Among other things, the panellists discussed how to create safe schools? It was organized by TRSMA (Telangana Recognised School Management Association) as part of the ongoing three-day hybrid exhibition PHIC (Preventive Healthcare& Infection Control Expo)-2020 here in the city on Friday.

Addressing 200 plus Correspondents of private schools who are members of TRSMA, the association of budget schools, the Minister said, the intensity of the Corona has come down.

But the whole world is hotly discussing currently the second wave. Some of the countries have been experiencing the fresh wave of corona attack. But, though I am not an expert on the subject, personally fee that there may not be a second spell of the dreaded virus in India and Telangana also, he said.

In the initial stages of the corona some people used to be positive even for 35 days and they had to be quarantined that many more days. But, subsequently, ICMR eased out those restrictions. Now, most are home quarantined. Thanks to our ancient wisdom, our homes have turned into Ayurvedic Hospitals. We have been able to take care of ourselves to the great extent with home remedies. Ayurveda, being the science of life, that propagates the gifts of nature in maintaining healthy and happy living has been helpful to many to take care of themselves. Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge based on preventive care helped many while at the home quarantine the Health Minister added.

Touching upon the subject of the panel discussion on reopening the schools, Etela Rajender said, we all know that no parent wants their children to sit back at home without going to school for a very long time. At the same time, they can’t run the risk. We need to take a very careful decision. Though online lessons are helping to certain extent children with mobile phones in hand get exposed to unwanted things, which again is not good in the larger interest of the society. It will be difficult to exercise control on their usage he said.

The minister has assured TRSMA, the body of 10,000 private budget schools representing 33 lakh students and 5 lakh teaching staff, that their concerns would be taken to the Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and assured that the Government would take a suitable decision in the larger interest of everybody.

The minister also inspected 50 plus stalls put up in India’s first of kind Hybrid expo being organised by Hitex, in support with TRSMA, IFCAI, TSFMC, HYSEA and many other organizations with a single objective to showcase innovative products, solutions, services and learn best practices adopted from each other for a smooth transition and better preparedness for the new normal life.

The expo is organized adhering to strict covid protocols and frequent appeals to visitors if any not wearing by mistake on public address systems, temperature checks at everywhere, touch-free bathroom fittings, sanitizing Dias, mike, podium with the fully dedicated sanitizing team. Thus made it the most sanitized and safe expo cum conference for people to attend.

Earlier setting the tone for the panel discussion Yadagiri Shekar Rao highlighted to the Minister and all the participants the preparedness of the schools. If children are forced to stay back and school is not open it is not good for society. It will lead to a crisis in terms of the knowledge gap and financial loss. We may lose efficient and well-trained teachers because of the job loss for so many months. Some of them have already diversified and taken up some other jobs. He urged the Minister and through him the Chief Minister to take a decision to reopen the school as early as possible

Mr S. Madhusudhan, General Secretary of TRSMA quoting some experts said the one-year loss of education is equal to the ten years backwardness. When all sectors are unlocked why not education? he asked. Children are as risky in schools as at homes.. Their parents are going out on their work and when they go back home children are exposed to them. Children are attending family functions, social gatherings. So they are as risky at schools as at their homes he said. Health experts are informing that children are less prone to Corona.

Children may suffer one or two days with mild temperature. Lakhs of students wrote NEET and JEE without much problem. We can’t wait till the full normalcy returns, which even Vaccine doesn’t assure us at it only assures 90% of the safety. Life must go on.

We must CO-LIVE with COVID. We have lost 8 months. 3000 schools are closed down already. Let us act fast before irreparable damages happen in terms of their mental health. Let us open the schools for the holistic development of the children.

All schools in the state are fully prepared to re-open as and when the government permits, he said and added that in a survey of 19000 parents surveyed till today morning, 64% of parents are willing to send their children to the schools. Now the ball is in the court of the government he said.

IV Rama Rao, TRSMA Treasurer said several teachers and their families are suffering due to the closure of the schools. Kamalakar, State General Secretary of Panchayatraj Teachers Union, representing all the government teachers said many neighbouring states have already opened schools. Raj Reddy representing parents said their fears of the safety of their children must be addressed and dispelled. You must give us the confidence to send our children to schools. Please showcase your preparedness to us he said.

Prasad Rao, a senior member of the TRSMA pointed out that it is education loss to the students and not earning loss to the managements that we are worried about because of the closure of the schools. It is like an emergency situation. Let us not delay the decision he added. He requested the Minister to impress upon the CM for the urgency of reopening the schools. He stressed that if the decision is delayed further we may experience a lot of dropouts, kids may leave studies and resolve to child labour.

Before the Panel discussion on ‘Safe re-opening of schools after Covid lockdown’, two professional sanitizing companies, Vr Local and Sterilit made a presentation on how they could ensure safe schools

It aims to attract400 delegates, 4000 visitors and 30 distinguished speakers and subject experts.

Many scientific sessions, knowledge dissemination concurrent sessions are being held. It is the single biggest event for Preventive Health Care and Infection Control and will conclude Saturday evening