A technical advisory committee advising the Karnataka government on how to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic has warned that a second wave of the coronavirus may hit the state in January and has suggested measures like the imposition of night curfew between December 26 to January 1 and a ban on New Year celebrations to minimise the impact on the state.
“An early recognition of the second wave of Covid-19 in the state can be done by closely monitoring 7-day average growth rate and reproduction number (R0) at district and state levels. The second wave of Covid-19 is expected during January-February, 2021,” the committee, comprising of health experts, stated in a November 30 report.
It said that the inputs of an epidemic intelligence team should be utilised for early recognition of the second wave by the state government and a “minimum of 1.25 lakh tests per day” should be conducted till the end of February, with at least one lakh being RT-PCR tests.
Winter conditions, the opening up of public movement and interactions, weak enforcements and the movement of people across states are cited as causes for a possible second wave.
“There has been a second wave of Covid-19 in the USA, Europe, Australia, and other countries. Recently, there has been a surge in cases in Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Kerala, and other states that has been a cause for concern in other states,” the committee stated.
It has recommended that the hospital care preparedness in the state in January should be at the levels that it was when the first wave of the Covid-19 began receding in October “in terms of beds, ICUs, ICU- ventilators, etc”.
The committee has said that mass gatherings must only be held in open areas, and has suggested a ban on public New Year celebrations and as well as a night curfew from 8 pm to 5 pm from December 26 to January 1.
Karnataka recorded its first case on March 8, and till the end of November, a total of 8.74 lakh cases were detected in the state, with 11,678 deaths. The period of July to September was the worst, when the state was witnessing an average of 10,000 Covid-19 cases a day. The number of cases has since been brought under control, with an average of 1,500 cases a day.x