TN govt. fully prepared to tackle Omicron variant & the challenges it poses, says Governor

The government is augmenting RT-PCR testing facilities, installing oxygen generating PSA plants and increasing ICU beds, the Governor said in the TN Assembly on Wednesday

The Tamil Nadu government was fully prepared to tackle the new Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus and the challenges it posed, Governor R.N. Ravi said in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. Commending the leadership of the Chief Minister, he also requested the people of State to continue to co-operate with the government’s efforts to ensure success.

“In order to prevent the spread of this variant, the government has strengthened testing and checking protocols at international airports. Based on the experience gained during the second wave, Tamil Nadu was one of the first States in the country in establishing facilities for genome sequencing,” Mr. Ravi said.

Further, the government was augmenting RT-PCR testing facilities, installing oxygen generating PSA plants and increasing ICU beds. He congratulated the CM for “galvanising the entire government machinery and effectively managing the second wave of the Covid pandemic” by ramping up health infrastructure, ensuring availability of oxygen and essential drugs and transforming the vaccination drive. The State government’s strategy in “successfully containing the second wave without significantly affecting people’s livelihood and economy has served as a model for the entire nation,” the Governor said.

The coverage of vaccination had been very low with only 8.09% of the eligible population having been administered the first dose and 2.84%, the second dose, when the new government assumed office. “In just seven months, due to the concerted efforts of this government, the vaccination coverage has been increased to 86.95% for the first dose and 60.71% for the second dose, with a total of 8.55 crore doses being administered.”

CM’s relief fund

Following the appeal made by the Chief Minister, so far, donations to Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund to the tune of ₹543 crore have bee received and ₹541.64 crore has been spent towards COVID-related activities. In line with the new policy announced by the Prime Minister on December 25 last year, the State has expanded the vaccination programme to cover children in the age group of 15-18 years, and will provide a ‘precaution dose’ for frontline staff, health workers and vulnerable sections above 60 years of age, he said.

The State government was providing ₹25 lakh ex-gratia to families of frontline workers, who lost their lives due to COVID-19 and ₹5 lakh to children who have lost their parents. Further, it has ordered an ex-gratia of ₹50,000 from the State Disaster Response Fund to the kin of persons who have lost their lives due to COVID-19, he said. So far, relief has been provided to 27,432 families.

To secure the future of children, who lost both their parents due to COVID-19, the government is depositing a sum of ₹5 lakh in the name of the child and this would be paid with accrued interest when the child completes 18 years of age. “So far, 287 children have benefited under this scheme. A sum of ₹3 lakh is given in the name of the child who has lost either of the parents due to Covid as immediate relief. So far, 7,513 children have benefited,” he said.

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