Swab test being conducted for the COVID-19 testing at a majestic bus stand in Bengaluru. | Representational image
Swab test being conducted for the COVID-19 testing at a majestic bus stand in Bengaluru. | Representational image

Bengaluru, May 12: With Covid-related deaths clocking 517 on Wednesday, the total Covid deaths crossed the 2,000-mark in Karnataka; and with 39998 new cases on Wednesday, the total positive cases crossed the 20-lakh mark with Bengaluru contributing nearly 10 lakh.

While Bengaluru continued to remain on top of the Covid heap with 16,286 new Covid cases Wednesday and 275 deaths, the virus is fast spreading to the districts with Bengaluru Rural, Mysuru, Tumakuru, Mandya, Dakshina Kannada, Ballari, Hassana and Shivamogga reporting over 1000 new cases.

“The rural run of the virus is dangerous as the infrastructure in many areas is weak,” said an expert.

With close to 9.9 lakh positive cases as on Wednesday, Bengaluru has become India's Covid capital as a district with the most number of infections.

More than 54% of Bengaluru’s 9.9 lakh cases have been added in just 40 days. Bengaluru’s daily case average for the said period is 12,901, while in the past 10 days, it stands at 19,451. No other district in India has added as many cases in the said period. While the Karnataka government has conceded it underestimated the impact of the second wave, the case burden on Bengaluru seems to have gone out of control.

The IT capital always had consistently reported more cases in Karnataka, but its steep climb to the top of the table came on the back of a massive surge in cases fuelled by the pandemic’s second wave.

In Bengaluru, Covid-related deaths are on the rise amid concerns of underreporting. The civic administration recently identified 233 acres to set up crematoria where mass cremations will take place.

Meanwhile, after beds and oxygen, Karnataka is now suffering from an acute shortage of Covid-19 testing kits, and it is seriously affecting the fight against the pandemic.

The Covid technical advisory committee (TAC) warned the government that the pandemic situation would worsen if tests drop and has recommended urgent purchase of both rapid antigen (RAT) and RT-PCR test kits.

The government has placed orders for more testing kits. KS Latha Kumari, managing director, Karnataka State Medical Supplies Corporation, said an order for 42 lakh RT-PCR kits has been placed. She said the process to buy 30 lakh RAT kits has already been completed.

In other Covid related developments, the Karnataka government plans to procure two crore Covid-19 vaccine doses through a global tender in the wake of acute shortage. On Tuesday, the Karnataka High Court observed that “the situation regarding availability of vaccines in the state of Karnataka is very disturbing.” This tender will meet the increased demand of vaccines and facilitate vaccination of the age group of 18-44 years, Deputy Chief Minister and state Covid task force head Dr CN Ashwath Narayan said.

In addition to this, an order has already been placed for three crore vaccine doses — one crore Covaxin and two crore Covishield, he said. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting he chaired, his office said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Yediyurappa-led government issued notices to pharmaceutical companies Cipla and Jubilant Tuesday for failing to supply the quantity of Remdesivir allocated to the state by the Union government.

In another development, the Karnataka CET exams scheduled to be held on 7, 8 and 9 July 2021 have been postponed to 28, 29, 30 August this year. This decision was taken due to the postponement of the annual 2nd PUC examinations and on consideration of the rising COVID-19 cases in Karnataka, a statement by the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) said.

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Free Press Journal