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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Karnataka Covid wrap: 530 more deaths, positivity rate drops below 20% for first time this month

Meanwhile, with the cumulative number of patients infected with mucormycosis (black fungus) in Karnataka now rising to 481, the state government has advised doctors not to administer steroids to patients during the first week of Covid-19 infection.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 27, 2021 6:44:36 am
Karnataka Covid casesA medic collects samples from e-commerce and food delivery personnel for Covid-19 testing. (Photo: PTI)

Karnataka Wednesday reported 530 more deaths as the toll rose to 26,399 since March 10 last year. While Bengaluru Urban reported 285 deaths, the capital city also recorded 6,433 new infections and 18,342 recoveries.

Other districts that reported the most fatalities were Ballari (19), Ballari (22), Belagavi, Mysuru, Shivamogga, and Tumakuru (14 each), and Chamarajanagar (13).

Across the state, recoveries (57,333) continued to outnumber fresh infections (25,311) as testing dropped to 1,08,723.

Meanwhile, test positivity rate (TPR) dropped to 19.48 per cent as the declining trend of recoveries (40,741) outnumbering the new cases (26,811) continued. This is the first time TPR has dropped below 20 per cent since April 27. The active caseload across the state has also dropped to 4,09,924 with 2,07,357 of them in Bengaluru Urban alone.

Among other districts that reported the most new cases were Mysuru (2,792), Hassan (1,471), Tumakuru (1,399), Davangere (1,309), and Belagavi (1,205). While 1,37,584 people were tested on Wednesday alone, as many as 1,27,317 people were vaccinated across the state.

Increase tax on tobacco products to generate revenue for Covid vaccination: Public health experts

Public health experts in Bengaluru have urged the GST Council to increase compensation CESS on all tobacco products in a bid to generate additional revenue, thereby helping governments to procure Covid-19 vaccines.

Experts feel that increasing tobacco taxes would help the economic distress the country is facing amid the ongoing Covid pandemic as it would also reduce affordability among tobacco users and consumption as well.

“This will generate substantial revenue for the Government while motivating millions of tobacco users to quit, also preventing youngsters from initiating tobacco use,” Seethalakshmi S, Director (policy and strategy), Institute for Policy Research, Bengaluru said.

Meanwhile, oncologist Vishal Rao remarked that there was “growing evidence” that the use of tobacco products increased the risk of severe Covid-19 infection. “Smoking worsens lung function and reduces immunity. Tobacco users who develop Covid infection have more complications and a greater risk of fatality,” he said, endorsing the proposal.

The group has also appealed to the GST council to take steps to look into their recommendation ahead of the Council meeting on May 28.

Karnataka’s global tender to procure Covid vaccine gets responses

In response to the global tender floated by Karnataka to procure two crore Covid-19 vaccines, two suppliers have come forward to supply Russia’s Sputnik V and Sputnik Lite vaccines.

Mumbai-based Bulk MRO Industrial Supply Pvt Ltd and Bengaluru-based Thulasi Systems have responded to the tender that closed on Monday, and no bids have come from major vaccine manufacturers, official sources said. While Bulk MRO Industrial Supply Pvt Ltd has offered to supply Sputnik V, Thulasi Systems has said it can also supply the Sputnik Lite, single-dose vaccines.

Documents including financial bids will be scrutinised, and only after that, negotiations on price and other things may happen, an official said, adding that “the government will take a final decision on procurement after going through all aspects and procedures required.”

However, the state government is also reportedly mulling over extending the time limit for bids, looking for more response. With the country battling the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, several states have called for global tender to procure the vaccines. The Karnataka government had recently approved Rs 843 crore for the vaccine procurement.

The state government is also directly procuring domestically manufactured vaccines — Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — aimed at increasing the pace of vaccination in the state.

Bengaluru police nab trio involved in black marketing of Remdesivir

The Bengaluru City Police Wednesday confirmed the arrest of a trio allegedly involved in black marketing of Remdesivir injection. “The three accused persons procured the vials from Kerala and were intending to sell them to prospective buyers in the city at exorbitant prices. They were apprehended by Basaveshwarnagar police in the city,” City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said.

He added that 25 vials of the antiviral drug were seized and further investigation is underway to unearth further links of the racket.

Black fungus: 481 cases in Karnataka so far

With the cumulative number of patients infected with mucormycosis (black fungus) in Karnataka now rising to 481, the state government has advised doctors not to administer steroids to patients during the first week of Covid-19 infection.

According to Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar, the move comes after an expert panel, constituted to study the source of infection, pointed out that using steroids in the first week of Covid treatment was the primary reason for rise in cases of mucormycosis.

“We need to avoid this and steroids should be administered to Covid patients only from the second week. There are about 95 cases of black fungus now being treated at Bangalore Medical College. Out of them, 75 patients have either uncontrolled diabetes or have been administered steroids during Covid treatment,” Sudhakar explained.

Lockdown violation: Bengaluru police seizes 998 vehicles, files 51 NDMA cases

Even as most people in Bengaluru chose to stay indoors adhering to the extended lockdown announced across the state till June 7, the Bengaluru City Police (BCP) seized 998 vehicles from different parts of the city on Wednesday, between 10 am and 8 pm, for allegedly violating the guidelines.

According to data shared by BCP, 868 two-wheelers, 54 three-wheelers, and 66 four-wheelers were seized during inspections held across the city. Meanwhile, 51 cases were filed under relevant sections of the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA), as per an official release.

(With PTI inputs)

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