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Saturday, November 27 2021

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With the COVID transmission and caseload on the rise, what is the Govt’s strategy?

Bengaluru: Karnataka is one of the eight states which have contributed to 90 percent of the active Coronavirus cases in India, as per a report submitted to the Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19. In a record, Karnataka has registered more than 2,000 COVID19 cases (2062) in a single day with 54 deaths for the first time. The total coronavirus tally in Karnataka stood at 28,877 cases and the COVID19 death toll has reached 470. In Karnataka, there are 16,527 active coronavirus cases and 11,876 COVID19 patients have recovered.

Karnataka also has the highest transmission rate The coronavirus transmission rate (R) denotes the number of individuals getting infected by the Coronavirus patient. In India, the highest R numbers are recorded from Karnataka (1.66), Telangana (1.65), and Andhra Pradesh (1.32).

The situation in the state capital
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has stated that containment zones in the city have been raised to 3,181. Of the daily caseload, 1,148 new cases have been detected in the state capital Bengaluru alone. The city has also recorded 22 COVID19 deaths in a single day.

Karnataka Coronavirus COVID19 district-wise cases
Bangalore rural has reported 104 cases, Bangalore urban 4583, Bagalkot 199, Belgaum 324, Bellary 836, Bidar 615, Bijapur 401, Chamarajanagar 32, Chikkaballapur 216, Chikmagalur 89, Chitradurga 64, Dakshina Kannada 707, Devanagere 305, Dharawad 318, Gadag 177, Hassan 394, Haveri 128, Kalaburgi 1396, Kodagu 48, Kolar 121, Koppal 84, Mandya 417, Mysore 274, Raichur 494, Ramanagara 160, Shimoga 176, Tumkur 99, Udupi 1231, Uttara Kannada 256, Yadgir 940.

So whats Karnataka doing about it?
1. For Bengaluru: The Government has decided to appoint ministers to take charge of each zone in Bengaluru. The decision was taken after a cabinet meeting chaired by the CM himself
2. Increase in the number of beds: The state government has decided to increase beds at taluk and district level COVID19 hospitals, provide high flow oxygen devices, increase the number of tests and give the results as quickly as possible.
3. Increase the number of testing labs: Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu has said that there are 72 labs where coronavirus tests are conducted. These labs are under pressure with an increased number of COVID19 tests. “When lab technicians are quarantined, it gets difficult to complete work. So we’re considering increasing the number of labs and technicians,” the Health Minister said.
4. Private hospitals roped in both for testing and treatment: the Karnataka government has designated 483 private hospitals across the state for coronavirus treatment
5. Contingency fund: The Karnataka cabinet today gave its approval for “The Karnataka Contingency Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2020” to enhance the contingency fund limit to Rs 500 crore in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be an ordinance making one-time enhancement in the limit as the government needs money to make payments immediately, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy told reporters after a cabinet meeting. Under the contingency fund, the government had room to spend up to Rs 80 crore without budget provision.
6. Ramp up health care infrastructure: The cabinet today ratified the administrative approval given to carry out civil and electrical works to install medical gas pipeline with a high flow oxygen system at district hospitals, taluk, and community health centers coming under Health and Family welfare department in view of COVID-19. The minister said about Rs 207 crore is being approved for this purpose. It also ratified the procurement of medical equipment and furniture for public healthcare institutions of the health and family welfare department worth Rs 81.99 crore.
6. ICMR survey: ICMR is planning a  pan-India survey to determine the exposure of the population to the coronavirus as the herd immunity plan seems to have been dumped.
 
No lockdown for now
The Cabinet did not discuss a renewed lockdown according to sources. With lockdown ruled out for now, experts have advised the government to adopt the 3T model of Kerala to contain the virus.
Step 1: Contain an area, seal all roads barring one for entry and exit; suspend public transport with private vehicles allowed only in emergencies. This is to be done with the help of the police / paramilitary as was seen in one town in Kerala recently.
Step 2: Complete restrictions in containment zones or clusters where primary and secondary contacts of the infected persons are living.
Step 3:  Ensure family members of the infected persons, who carry the risk of transmitting the virus, do not step out of house.

Is there truth in the COVID War Chest remaining unused?
The Times of India reports that three months ago, the Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman authorized states to use a portion of funds from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) to battle the coronavirus pandemic. But there are stipulations on how and where to use the funds. A DMF is a non-profit trust set up in mining districts across the country to “work for the interest and benefit of people and areas affected by mining-related operations”. Such trusts were created after an amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015.

The stipulations on usage – must be used in the mining districts only and only 30% of the total collected by that district to be used may be behind the poor utilization. Karnataka’s corpus of Rs 1,200 crore comes mainly from the five mining districts of Ballari, Kalaburagi, Chitradurga, Bagalkot, and Ramanagara. The entire fund is not available for the COVID fight. The Centre has allowed Karnataka to use Rs 384 crore. Given the stipulations, it has used only 21 crores.

However, health teams at the frontline are already reeling from the lack of adequate resources – both men and material.

Help is at hand:
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government has set up helplines  to help you calm your anxiety and get the required medical assistance

Karnataka Bengaluru Coronavirus COVID19 helpline numbers: If you are in Bengaluru, you need to dial COVID control room numbers 080 – 1077, and 080 – 22967200. For more information, you can contact the nearest Government Hospital or call Health Helpline 104. If you are outside Bengaluru, you can dial state COVID-19 control room helpline numbers 14410, 1075, 080-46848600, 9745697456, 9980299802, 080-1070.

Brian Fernandes

Brian is an alumnus of Roshni Nilaya’s Post Graduate School of Social Work, HR Department and has 30 years of local and international HR and General Management experience. Journalism, poetry, and feature writing is a passion which he is now able to pursue at will. Additionally, he loves compering and hosting talk shows. He loves learning and imparting it; so, when time permits, he provides leadership facilitation and soft skills training to Postgraduate students and Corporates in Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Besides, he is an accomplished Toastmaster under the aegis of Toastamasters.org and a designated Distinguished Toast Master.

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