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Monday, May 17, 2021

Karnataka CM: Lockdown not an option now; only if situation worsens

Covid-19 cases touched 10,250 with 40 deaths – 7,584 in Bengaluru with 27 deaths – on Sunday (daily positivity rate of 7.72 percent) and 9,579 cases with 52 deaths (6,387 in Bengaluru with 40 deaths) on Monday (daily positivity rate at a new high of 8.24 percent).

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: April 13, 2021 8:08:24 am
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. (File Photo)

Stating that lockdown is not being considered “for now”, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday said that it may be considered if the situation in the state, and specifically Bengaluru, worsens over the next week.

Covid-19 cases touched 10,250 with 40 deaths – 7,584 in Bengaluru with 27 deaths – on Sunday (daily positivity rate of 7.72 percent) and 9,579 cases with 52 deaths (6,387 in Bengaluru with 40 deaths) on Monday (daily positivity rate at a new high of 8.24 percent).

“We have night curfew now and if the situation worsens we will discuss with the Prime Minister and decide. No lockdown is being considered for now. We will see the situation after a week and decide,” Yediyurappa said amid speculation that a state technical advisory committee for the pandemic has recommended a brief lockdown in parts of the state to curb the surge.

State government officials said that the severity of the infection is less acute in Karnataka in the second wave, and that it does not necessitate a lockdown like last year.

Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said: “The technical advisory committee has evaluated the situation for the next two months and advised on steps to be taken. Experience from last year will help us. The government is aware that people are suffering due to economic slowdown and there is no consideration of a lockdown as of now.”

“The cases are growing but the severity we saw last time is not there. We are also better equipped now to handle the disease,” Dr Om Prakash Patil, director, state health and family welfare services, said.

Gaurav Gupta, commissioner for Bengaluru city region, said, “Shortage of beds and medicine seen the last time is not there at present, so a lockdown is not warranted.”

“The severity is low among the (confirmed) cases because a lot of the patients are younger in the second wave and progression to a severe stage is not as rapid as it was last year,” said Dr C Nagaraj, director of the state-run Rajiv Gandhi institute of Chest Diseases.

Dealing with the spike in cases

With Covid 19 infections witnessing a surge in Bengaluru, cases are also increasing of the health of patient’s deteriorating while waiting to find hospital beds — like they did at the peak of the first wave in July-September last year.

On April 9, a 31-year-old with very low oxygen saturation levels died after he was shunted from one private hospital to another, where beds with oxygenation and ventilator support were booked through a government service but were not available when the patient arrived.

“I would like to highlight the negligence of hospitals for not updating the portal (for bed availability) and playing with the lives of people. I now live in fear even after a bed is blocked by 108 (the ambulance and bed booking helpline for Covid patients) – if the patient will really get a bed in the hospital,” said Mohammed Ismail, an emergency response volunteer in Bengaluru who tried to help the 31-year-old patient find a bed on April 9.

The spike in cases since the end of March has resulted in the state government asking private hospitals to hand over 50 percent of their beds for Covid-19 treatment.

Out of a total 3,663 beds dedicated for Covid-19 patients referred by the government in Bengaluru across government and private hospitals, 2,474 beds were occupied as of Monday evening. This includes 196 of 225 ICU ventilator beds in 44 hospitals. There were only eight unoccupied ICU ventilator beds out of 110 spread across 16 government facilities.

Private medical colleges have provided 74 ICU ventilator beds to the government and private hospitals have provided 41 ICU ventilator beds which is helping the state government tide over the growing number of Covid 19 cases in Bengaluru at present.

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