Coronavirus (covid-19) cases in Telangana climbed to 471 on Thursday, as 18 more people tested positive in the state.

State health minister Eatala Rajender said that about 60-70 people in the state will soon be discharged (if their tests are negative) and added that the state may be covid-19 free by the end of the month.

On Thursday, 15 new cases were reported from Andhra Pradesh, taking its total cases to 368.

“All the samples linked to the Markaz people (and their contacts) samples are done. Out of the total cases found in Telangana, 388 are linked to the Markaz,” Rajender said while addressing a press conference on Thursday. He was referring to the hundreds of people from Telangana who attended a religious congregation organised by the Tablighi Jamat sect at the Markaz Nizamuddin in New Delhi from 13 to March.

Rajender stated that the number of new covid-19 canes are likely to reduce in the coming days. “The indication is that by 22 April the state may be free from coronavirus. The people who tested positive initially were foreign returnees and their contacts and later those were linked to the Markaz. There is no community transmission in the state,” he added. Chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) also had the same earlier the this (on community transmission).

The health minister also informed that so far 12 people have died due to covid-19 in the state, while 45 have been discharged. On Thursday, the Hyderabad city administration also set up 12 containment zones in areas where covid-19 cases had been detected. Telangana state chief secretary Somesh Kumar also appealed to the public to voluntarily support the government in combating covid -19.

He along with state director general of police M. Mahender Reddy, principal secretary (municipal administration and urban development) Arvind kumar and other officials visited the containment clusters. A special number will be allocated to those who are inside the clusters to address their problems, added Somesh Kumar, in a press release from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

A day earlier on Wednesday, 49 new covid-10 cases were reported in Telangana. Earlier this week, KCR appealed to prime minister Narendra Modi to extend the lockdown, imposed across the country, by another one or two weeks this month to contain the spread of covid-19. He stated that this was the only solution to curb the virus’s spread in the state, and added that all the tests on those who attended the congregation at the Markaz Nizamuddin will be done by Thursday.

The Telangana government on Wednesday also banned the spitting of paan or any other chewable tobacco or non-tobacco substance at public places as a preventive measure to curtail the spread of covid-19. In AP, the latest cases were reported from Prakasam, east Godavari, Guntur and Kadapa districts.

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