Second Covid wave in Karnataka expected during Jan-Feb, says Technical Advisory panel

Karnataka is expected to witness the second wave of the novel coronavirus during January-February in 2021, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for Covid-19 has said.

The panel has advised that clinical facilities should be ready by the first week of January in terms of beds, ICUs, ventilators, and so on, both in government and private hospitals or this could be ramped up at a short notice of 2-3 days maximum.

It has said that the facilities should be readied keeping in mind the situation in October, during which the state was reporting 10,000 cases per day.

It has also recommended a ban on new year public celebrations from December 26 to January 1 and advised night curfew (8 pm to 5 am) during this period.

The TAC, based on the deliberations at its 53rd meeting held on November 24, has given an advisory on recognition and containment measures for the second wave of Covid-19 in Karnataka.

According to TAC, early recognition of the second wave of Covid-19 in the state can be done by closely monitoring the 7-day average growth rate and reproduction number (R0) at district and state levels.

The panel said an epidemic intelligence team shall be supporting the state war room for early recognition of the second wave and alerting the Additional Chief Secretary and Commissioner of the Health and Family Welfare department.

Speaking to reporters, Health Minister Sudhakar said a meeting will be held at the government level regarding the Technical Advisory Committee recommendations.

“Our positivity rate is less than 1.2 per cent. The report of the Technical Advisory Committee states that there may be a second wave. A meeting regarding it will be held in a couple of days. Based on the outcome of the meet, discussions will be held with the Chief Minister and the final decisions will be taken,” he told PTI.

To a query on the night curfew, he said no decision has been taken. A meeting is yet to take place to discuss the recommendations.

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, so it is now considered important for Karnataka to prepare for a possible second wave of Covid-19.

According to experts, the second wave is anticipated usually three to four months after the first spike or wave i.e., January- February 2021.

This is factoring in winter, unlocking progress, weak enforcements, population movements, etc.

Noting that a minimum of 1.25 lakh tests per day should continue till the end of February 2021, of which 1 lakh shall
be RT-PCR ( 1:5 pooled in lab as per state protocol), the TAC advisory recommends for fortnightly testing of all teachers, pupils, and staff in educational institutions, Anganwadi staff, and others by RT-PCR.

On the need for ramping up clinical facilities, it has suggested exploring Covid Care Centres (CCCs) to be run on PPP model with reputed NGOs for better facilities, services, and

After carefully assessing the Covid-19 situation in the last week of December, graded opening of schools from January may be considered, i.e. classes 12 & 10 to commence initially from January and classes 11 and 9 to follow later on.

TAC has also recommended restriction of mass gatherings like fairs and festivals, religious congregations, cultural events, etc., and to strictly restrict super spreader events during December and January (winter months) like permitting events only in open areas like Marriages, etc.

Up to 100; political and public events up to 200; death ceremonies 50; funerals -20.

Suggesting to enforce mask-wearing, it said, more marshals/police to fine mask violators in busy areas like markets, bus stops, commercial areas, in buses, at traffic junctions, and to consider introducing tough actions like simple imprisonment of a few hours for mask violators as done in Madhya Pradesh.

(With inputs from PTI)

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