Experts see spike in Covid-19 cases as indication of second wave, says BS Yediyurappa
With Karnataka seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases over the last fortnight, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday said experts had said it was an indication of a second wave and advised strict enforcement of measures to contain the spread. The Chief Minister chaired a meeting with senior officials and members of the Covid-19 technical advisory committee, comprising health experts to assess the situation. "We have been informed that the Covid-19 scenario is on an increasing trend over the last fortnight. The positivity rate has increased, but by God's grace, the mortality rate is low," Yediyurappa said. He said the positivity rate has increased in districts like Bidar, Kalaburagi, Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Udupi Tumakuru and Dakshina Kannada. "Experts see this as an indication of Covid-19 second wave.. The technical advisory committee have advised strict enforcement of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19," he added. The state has been logging over 900 new cases over the last three days. Cumulatively 9,61,204 Covid-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 12,397 deaths and 9,39,928 discharges. The total number of active cases stood at 8,860. Yediyurappa requested citizens to wear masks and maintain social distancing at public places to balance economic activities and to avoid any further lockdown. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would chair a meeting on March 17 with Chief Ministers of various states on the Covid situation, where Karnataka would seek advice and take necessary strict measures, if required. "I appeal to the people of the state, especially Bengaluru... if you don't want lockdown once again,take strict measures by yourselves," he said,regretting that people don't wear masks, awareness has gone and the situation has gone back to what it was earlier. Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan and Health Minister K Sudhakar attended the meeting on Monday. The Chief Minister said the meeting decided to increase vaccination across the state, as also contact tracing and testing. "It was also decided to make the RT-PCR test report compulsory for those entering the state at Maharashtra and Kerala borders. I have held discussions with all the district Deputy Commissioners and strict instructions have been given to follow the measures from tomorrow itself," he said. Noting that officials have advised to increase vaccination in districts with more positivity rate, he said a good number of health workers have been vaccinated, but only 58 per cent of the frontline workers have taken the shots so far. "Experts have advised to conduct vaccinations in big apartments and also inoculate senior citizens by identifying them, based on the electoral rolls," he added. Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing is compulsory and violators would be fined, Yediyurappa said. "We will see for a week..if people don't cooperate and don't wear masks, we will start imposing fine of ₹250... don't push us to take this step." The CM said officials have been directed to ensure that not more than 500 people attend social, religious and other events, including weddings. To be prepared for any eventuality, it was decided to make arrangements at Covid hospitals for oxygenated beds, availability at Intensive Care Units and setting up of Covid care centres. The meeting also decided to hold discussions with private hospitals for providing treatment to Covid patients like in the past, Yediyurappa said. Among other issues deliberated at the meeting for implementation was to enhance vaccination of senior citizens and those at slums and rural areas and not ferrying a large number of people in public transport vehicles.