B’luru extends night curfew, invokes Sec 144 to curb Covid spread
Bengaluru: As the city and state witnesses an increase in the Covid-19 cases, Bengaluru police on Wednesday invoked Section 144 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in public places till August 16, 6am. Restrictions are already in place since August 2, 6 am. The order bars the assembly of more than four people and restricts activities, except those permitted by the government . Night curfew between 10 pm to 5 am has also been extended until August 16, the order stated.
As the cases in the neighbouring districts of Maharashtra and Kerala are on the rise, the restrictions at Karnataka-Kerala border check posts will be in force till the Covid positivity rate comes down, said Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Pratap Reddy on Tuesday. “Passengers at railway stations without RT-PCR negative reports had been shifted to a temporary quarantine centre at Townhall. After the swab tests, those testing positive will be shifted to Covid Care Centres (CCC) and those testing negative can return home. We have requested the authorities to bring down the time taken for giving test reports,” Reddy added.
The state reported 1,769 new cases on Wednesday, taking the active caseload to 24,305. Bengaluru accounted for 411 new infections, taking its active cases to 8,705. As many as 30 fatalities were reported across the state on Monday, which took the state’s toll to 36,680. Bengaluru’s toll due to Covid-19 jumped to 15,896, with 4 deaths being reported on Wednesday, according to the state health department.
According to experts, it is time for the government to increase vaccination in the state. On the minimum vaccination target needed to avoid a severe third wave, experts said that anywhere between 60% and 75% of the population should get at least the first dose of the vaccine before the third wave hits.
To break down the numbers, the population of Karnataka, according to the government projections, is approximately 65 million. According to the Karnataka election commission, around 51 million people in the state are eligible voters, which is roughly the estimated number of those eligible for the vaccination.
So far, only 24 million people have received at least one shot so far, which is less than 50% of the target audience. “Vaccinating people at the earliest is critical now. The majority of the population falls in the 18-45 age category. With multiple variants that are being reported, this age group is one of the most vulnerable sections,” said Dr Vishal Rao, a member of the expert committee on Karnataka’s Covid task force.
“There is no doubt that if we don’t vaccinate enough population, the third wave will be as bad, or even worse, than the second,” said CN Manjunath, Karnataka Covid-19 Task Force member and director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research. “Only if are able to build enough herd immunity can we blunt the impact of the third wave. But it is going to be a challenge,” he said.
The second wave has shown an increase in the number of deaths in the 30-45 age group. A comparison of the numbers of the first and second wave shows that in the first wave, around 11 out of 100 deaths were reported in the 30-45 age group, while in the second wave, 16 out of 100 deaths were reported in this category. For those under 30 years, in the first wave, 2.2% of deaths belonged to those who fell in this age category, while in the second wave, it increased to 2.9%, according to state data.
Meanwhile, Karnataka’s own vaccine registration app, titled Co-Win Kar, is available for download on Google Play Store. According to the health department, the current version is a pilot project and so far there have been around 100 downloads. “The big change in the new app is that beneficiaries who select vaccination centres of choice must produce address proof within the vicinity of the centre, which ensures that vaccine slots in the outskirts of the city are not taken by those from the city,” said a senior health department official.