CHENNAI: The Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota (SDSC-Shar) finds no respite from Covid-19, as another 47 fresh cases have been reported on Wednesday, taking the tally to over 100 in just the last four days. Considering the gravity of the situation, the Nellore district administration has deployed Sanjeevani buses to beef-up the testing there.
Additionally, the Andhra Pradesh government has also converted the State transport corporation’s (APSRTC) Garuda buses into testing facilities. Even as the Shar administration conducts the regular RT-PCR tests, the district administration has also ramped up Rapid Antigen tests, through Sanjeevini.
A total of 33 cases were detected through RT-PCR tests, and 14 through antigen tests done on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the district administration has assured that there was nothing to panic about the situation. “Through Sanjeevini, we have screened over 600 people at Shar in the last three days, of which 61 tested positive, of which most are asymptomatic. The tests are still in progress,” District Collector KVN Chakradhar Babu told TNIE.
50% staff to carry on ISRO programmes
The Collector added, “They are kept in isolation and are being monitored within the rocket launch station. I am in constant touch with Shar, and we are ready to provide them with whatever support they need.”
Over concerns of bed shortage in Nellore, that was voiced by Shar authorities, Babu said, “Previously only two Covid hospitals were operational, but as on date, we have 14 such hospitals with sufficient ICU, and non-ICU beds.” He added that ventilators and oxygen support have also been stocked-up in adequate quantities to meet the requirement.
Despite the surge in cases, Shar authorities have chosen to keep the operations going, and 50 per cent staff are still attending duties on roster basis. According to sources, ISRO is planning at least two launches by the end of this year, and for that, it was critical to carry out operation and maintenance works at Sriharikota. The collector, whom TNIE spoke to, also confirmed that the spaceport was indeed looking at a couple of launches.