Kerala should focus on controlling COVID-19 instead of filing cases: Karnataka CM
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai alleged on Saturday that Kerala's “failure” to control COVID-19 was causing hardship to his state and said that the neighbouring state should focus on Covid management instead of filing case against his government for making RT-PCR test mandatory for passengers.
"Kerala has petitioned the high court over Karnataka insisting on RT-PCR test to allow entry into the state. We are ready to fight it legally. But I would like to mention that the first wave began in Kerala. Today, during the second wave, too, Kerala continues to report the highest number of daily cases in the country. So, Kerala needs to control Covid. We, as neighbours, are facing hardship because Kerala is unable to control the situation. We have a huge responsibility of saving the lives and livelihood of our people. So, it would be better if Kerala can control the Covid situation instead of filing cases in the court," said Bommai, briefing the media after reviewing in the Covid situation in the state.
"The Covid expert committee has given their scientific insights into the Covid situation, statistics, projections and trends and also the Covid status in neighbouring Kerala and Maharashtra. The second wave is in its last stage. The experts have observed that the daily cases were only around 200 at the end of the first wave. But today, the daily cases continue to be around 1,800. So, there is a need to watch the numbers closely," said the chief minister, announcing the government decision to go ahead with its plan to reopen schools.
Schools in border districts to remain closed
"We have decided to reopen schools for classes 9 to 12 on August 23. However, the schools in border districts and the districts with case positivity rate higher than 2 per cent will remain closed. The taluks in the border districts will be closely monitored for Covid cases. The parents, teachers and non-teaching staff need to be compulsorily vaccinated before opening the school. The schools in areas where positivity rates increase to more than 2 per cent will have to be shut for a week for sanitisation of the premises," said Bommai.
Stating that the government was evolving a district specific Covid management plan, as each district had different set of challenges, Bommai said, "Some districts have reported high positivity rate, but some others have high death rate. Some districts have scaled down testing. The districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysuru, Hassan, Kodagu, Chikmagaluru, Bengaluru Rural, Shivamogga and Chamarajnagar have high positivity rate. So there is a need to scale up both testing and vaccination.
Villages within 10 km from the Kerala and Maharashtra borders will be vaccinated on priority. Testing will be scaled up in Raichur, Kalaburgi, Koppal, Ballari, Bidar, Haveri, Vijayapura, Tumkur, Chikmagalur and Bengaluru rural."
Six new genome testing labs
The chief minister informed that six new genome testing labs would come up in the state within the next three weeks. "The behaviour of Delta variant needs to be studied and we also need to keep tabs on new variants that may emerge. We already have testing facility at four places including IISc and NIMHANS. But the test results are taking 2-3 weeks long. So, we have decided to set up six new labs in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shimoga, Belagavi, Hubballi and Kalaburgi," he added.
Bommai stated that he would seek an enhancement of vaccine quota from the Centre to expedite vaccination across all districts, especially the border districts. "As on date, we have administered four crore vaccine doses and we have a stock of 14.89 lakh. We will get another 30 lakh doses of vaccine by the end of this month. However, we will seek a higher allocation of one crore doses. I will be going to Delhi along with our health minister to request the Union health minister for enhancement of vaccine allocation to the state," he informed.
Noting that Bengaluru city had a case positivity rate of 0.75 per cent, the chief minister said that the BBMP commissioner had been granted the powers to take stringent measures if the case positivity rate reached two per cent and the bed occupancy in the city exceeds 40 per cent.