State reports 456 new coronavirus cases
Karnataka reported 456 new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and six deaths on Sunday, with places like Bengaluru and the coffee-growing region of Chikamagaluru witnessing a sharp uptick in infection, according to the state health department data.
At least 59 students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) in Chikmagalur, about 245 km from Bengaluru, were among 66 to be tested positive in the district in the last 24 hours, the state health department said on Sunday.
“We had conducted tests on 457 people in the JNV here, of which 59 students and 10 staff tested positive for Covid-19. They are asymptomatic but we have isolated them,” Dr SN Umesh, the district health officer was quoted as saying by PTI.
The increase in Covid-19 cases has sparked fears in the southern state, where the first two cases of the new and highly mutated variant of SARS-CoV-2, Omicron, in the country were reported last week. All this has also added to residents’ concern of whether the state government will add more restrictions ahead of Christmas and New Year festivities.
With several educational institutions reporting higher number of Covid-19 cases, many parents were hesitant about sending their wards for physical classes.
On Saturday, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai had said that any place that reports more than three Covid-19 cases will be considered a cluster.
Karnataka reported 456 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking the active case count to 7,132, the health department said on Sunday. The positivity rate climbed up to 0.41%. The state also reported six more deaths due to Covid-19, at the case fatality rate of 1.31%.
Bengaluru recorded 256 new infections on Sunday, taking its active case count to 5,136, the health department said. Other districts with high caseload include Chikmgaluru that reported 66 new infections and has an active caseload of 108; Dharwad with 20 new infections took its active caseload to 314 while Mysuru, with saw its active case count jump to 307, according to the state health data.
In the last eight days, the state has logged 2,814 new Covid-19 cases, with Bengaluru accounting for nearly half of them, data suggests.
Mysuru recorded the highest positivity rate in the last seven days (till 5 pm on Saturday) at 0.70%, followed by Shivamogga at 0.64% and Benglauru Urban at 0.55%. The state average is at 0.38% till Saturday evening, as per data.
The chief minister has, meanwhile, announced a slew of measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, including allowing only fully vaccinated people into malls, cinema theatres and other public spaces to encourage more people to get inoculated.
Karnataka has achieved around 94% coverage of the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine while 62% of the eligible population has received both doses, according to the health department.
Vaccine hesitancy remains a problem in the state, with videos of doctors and villagers forcing people to take the jabs continue to flood social media platforms.
“Karnataka is witnessing large numbers of vaccine doses administered to its residents. Both doses must be taken to gain greater immunity,” Dr K Sudhakar, Karnataka’s minister for health and family welfare had said on Friday.
There have been stricter controls at the two international airports —Bengaluru and Mangaluru — in the state with only those testing negative being allowed to leave the premises.
The government has also announced stricter checking at border posts to monitor and allow only vaccinated people coming in from Kerala and Maharashtra.
“Among those unvaccinated, they might have their reasons. Please discuss with health professionals and get them vaccinated,” Giridhara R. Babu, epidemiologist and member of Karnataka’s expert committee on Covid-19, posted on Twitter.