Districts to decide on Covid-19 restrictions, testing, vaccination to be increased: Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai

Published on Aug 14, 2021 10:19 PM IST

The decision was taken based on the opinion of the Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 was of the opinion that the second wave of infections were not over in the state.

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai held a Covid-19 review meeting on Saturday.(Twitter/@ANI)
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai held a Covid-19 review meeting on Saturday.(Twitter/@ANI)
Written by Srivatsan K C | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Following a meeting with experts on Covid-19 in the state, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday said that the state government has decided to delegate power to the district authorities to manage the situation after ruling out a statewide plan.

The decision was taken based on the opinion of the Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 was of the opinion that the second wave of infections were not over in the state.

“We cannot formulate a statewide COVID-19 management plan. It should be district specific,” news agency PTI quoted the CM as saying after the meeting. Alongside experts, ministers and other state officials also attended the meeting. He also said that the decision on implementing lockdown will be made based on the positivity rate of a particular district. Further, in districts where the positivity rate is above 2%, schools would not be reopened, the CM said.

Also read | Covid-19: Karnataka bans processions on Muharram, Ganesh Chaturthi

The experts had expressed their concerns that the positivity rate in the state was not reducing and the daily infections in the state was hovering around the 1600- to 1800-mark, Bommai said. During the end of the first wave, the single-day infections came down to 300 cases, he added. “We have to prevent Covid-19 because this disease is still around. Since the cases are still remaining between 1,600 and 1,800, we need to be careful,” he added.

Testing and vaccination for the disease have been planned to be ramped up in some districts namely, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysuru, Hassan, Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga and Bengaluru Rural, the CM said. They should also be increased in villages that are up to 10kms inside Karnataka from the borders with Kerala and Maharashtra. Further, it was also decided in the meeting to increase testing in Bengaluru, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Ballari, Bidar, Koppal, Haveri, Vijayapura, Tumakuru and Chikkamagaluru.

Among other measures, six new genome sequencing labs would also be set up in Bengaluru, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Ballari, Bidar, Koppal, Haveri, Vijayapura, Tumakuru and Chikkamagaluru over the next three weeks to keep a track of new variants of the disease.

As far as vaccinations are concerned, 40 million people have been inoculated in the state as of date, the CM said. While the state has a stock of 1.5 million vaccine doses, it will also receive 3 million doses by the end of August, he added. “We are demanding more vaccines. Next week I am going to meet the union health minister. We are getting 65 lakh vials every month, which should be increased to one crore. If that arrives, we can vaccinate all the districts,” he said.

Bommai further mentioned that a case has been filed in the Kerala High Court against Karnataka’s move to mandate a negative RT-PCR certificate for people arriving from Kerala. “It's a different matter that we will fight it out legally but I would like to say that the first wave started from Kerala and maximum cases related to second wave is in Kerala. Hence, Kerala has to control Covid cases,” he added.

Schools in the state would be reopened from September 23 and not August 23 the CM said, mentioning that the classes would resume in two alternative batches. He also said that the standard operating procedure regarding the number of students permitted and the precautions to be taken was also prepared.

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