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Thursday, December 09, 2021

‘No plan of lockdown in Karnataka’: Covid-19 panel dismisses rumours

The Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has dismissed rumours there could be another lockdown in Karnataka.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: October 28, 2021 11:40:48 am
Vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe disease and deaths from Covid-19, but some studies suggest they may be less effective against the delta variant. (File Photo)

Even as panic gripped many in Karnataka owing to the discovery of two cases of the AY 4.2 sub-lineage of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Bengaluru, the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has dismissed rumours there could be another lockdown in the state.

“Reports of TAC recommending another lockdown in Karnataka due to the discovery of AY 4.2 sub-lineage cases are unfounded and unrealistic. It may be recalled that a lockdown was recommended last time when the state was reporting nearly 50,000 fresh Covid-19 cases on a daily basis. The number has been below 350 for the last two days,” TAC Chairman Dr M K Sudarshan told The Indian Express. He added that the source of certain media reports “that tried to spread panic” in the last two days was still not known.

However, he confirmed that both cases of AY 4.2 sub-lineage of the Delta variant in Karnataka were in Bengaluru. “Of the 17 such cases identified after genomic sequencing across India, two were from THE BBMP (municipal limits of Bengaluru) area. Both these patients and all their contacts have recovered from the infection,” the TAC Chairman highlighted.

A note shared by the Department of Health and Family Welfare mentioned that the two cases were identified in people aged 23 and 43 in July. “Regarding their primary and secondary contacts, one was positive and recovered fully, and others were negative for Covid-19,” it read.

Students attend a class at a government primary school in Bengaluru, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)

Further, Sudarshan noted that there was “nothing to panic” and parents sending children to school “should not be scared” by reading such “baseless” reports. “We (TAC) have been continuously monitoring the pandemic situation in the state. The average test positivity rate (TPR) across all age groups in the state has been around 0.3 per cent at present. For schoolchildren in particular, the same is at 0.13 per cent,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the TAC is further collecting updated information and has upscaled surveillance in schools, and is continuing to send more samples for genomic surveillance as a precautionary measure.

At the same time, Dr Sudarshan added that a detailed deliberation on the pandemic situation in the state would take place in the next meeting with the Health Minister.

The Health and Medical Education Minister’s office is yet to confirm when the next TAC meeting is scheduled to take place. “Dr Sudhakar (Health Minister) is at Hubballi today visiting medical colleges and health centres in the district. He is evaluating the preparedness of healthcare institutions there ahead of a possible third wave,” an official from the Minister’s office said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sudhakar had said that the state immediately gets advice from experts and discusses it with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) in the event of the emergence of any new variant of Covid-19.

“Those who have received both doses of the vaccine need not be afraid of the virus as it will have little effect on them. There is no need to panic as the state government has taken enough steps to check the spread of the infection. However, people should not be complacent and should see to it that all Covid-19 guidelines are followed at all times,” he had told reporters in Bengaluru.

Till date, Karnataka has reported over 29.86 lakh Covid-19 cases with 29.40 lakh people recovering from the infection, as per statistics issued by the State Health Department. The state has an active caseload of 8,430 as on Wednesday (October 27) while as many as 38,037 people have succumbed to the infection since March 10 last year.

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