Updated: June 2, 2021 7:47:59 am
An early easing of the lockdown in Karnataka seems unlikely with Covid-19 numbers in much of the state not in line with parameters prescribed by a state technical advisory committee on Monday for such a measure. The lockdown in the state, imposed on May 10, is as of now scheduled to continue till June 7.
“Our priority is health, life and livelihood. Keeping this in mind our recourse is to continue the lockdown till the following is achieved — the test positivity rate (TPR) is below 5% in the state, daily new cases are less than 5,000 and case fatality rate (CFR) is less than 1%,” said head of the technical advisory committee and public health expert Dr M K Sudarshan.
While daily new cases numbers in Karnataka have fallen from the peak of 50,000 in early May to around 15,000 now, 24 of 30 districts have a TPR above 10%, with 10 districts at more than 20% TPR. The seven-day state average of TPR is 14%, with the five-day average daily cases at over 15.000.
The CFR for Karnataka on May 31 was 3.24%, with as many as 18 districts above the benchmark of 1%.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, “The technical advisory committee has submitted its report and the CM will decide on the modalities of easing restrictions gradually… Positivity rate is still high in many districts so we need to exercise caution.”
Karnataka registered 13,760 deaths in May, a four-fold increase from 3,209 deaths in April. Bengaluru alone saw 7,085 deaths last month, up from 1,907 in April. April and May, in fact, account for 57% of Karnataka’s total Covid toll of 29,554, and as much as 66% of Bengaluru’s total deaths (13,622).
This is also a reason why the state is extra cautious about opening up fast or soon. Dr Sudarshan recommended “a more strict form” of the lockdown in districts like Mysore, Hassan, Tumkur, with high TPR.
Dr Sudarshan said Karnataka would also go by the Centre’s guideline to continue restrictions in districts where more than 60% of oxygen beds are occupied or where TPR is above 10%.
In the state, ICU and oxygenated bed facilities remain filled to capacity despite the dip in cases, cited by doctors as one of the reasons for the continuing high mortality rate.