Technical committee recommends continuation of lockdown in Karnataka
It says the restrictions should be in place till the test positivity rate falls below 5%
The State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on Monday recommended that Karnataka should continue the lockdown in a stricter form, “placing lives before livelihoods”.
In its recommendations drafted at its 107th meeting held on Sunday, the TAC has said that it is essential for the State “to continue lockdown restrictions till the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) falls below 5%, daily new cases below 5,000 and Case Fatality Rate (CFR) falls below 1%.”
TAC chairman M.K. Sudharshan told The Hindu on Monday that the committee in a meeting that went on for over five hours on Sunday reviewed the current COVID-19 situation in the State. “We unanimously drafted the recommendations placing the health and lives of people before livelihoods, which is the need of the hour at this juncture,” he said.
Although new cases have fallen to less than 20,000 in the State and less than 5,000 in Bengaluru Urban, active cases continue to be over three lakh. As on Monday, Karnataka reported 16,604 new cases of which 3,992 cases are from Bengaluru Urban. With 44,473 recoveries, the State now has 3,13,730 active patients. The TPR for the day stood at 13.57% and Case Fatality Rate (CFR) touched 2.47%.
Although experts have been asserting that the TPR can be brought down only if testing is ramped up, the number of tests conducted daily continue to be around 1.3 lakh.
Lockdown restrictions have been in place in the State from April 27 onwards in different phases. “The current lockdown is till June 7. However, the general advisory from the Government of India recommends continuation of restrictions till the end of June 2021 in districts having a TPR of more than 10% and oxygenated bed occupancy of more than 60%. We have recommended further continuation of the lockdown in this context,” he said.
“The lockdown restrictions, if continued, should be reviewed on a weekly basis for any relaxations and concessions. Whenever unlocking is considered, the approach used in 2020 from June-November should be used as a basis for a graded (quantum) and phase-wise (different activities) relaxation of imposed restrictions,” Dr. Sudarshan said.
Asserting that it would be advisable for the lockdown restrictions to be continued to consolidate the gains made so far during the existing lockdown, the TAC chairman added that it is now left to the government to take a decision.
Special SOPs for holding exams
TAC members, who also deliberated on the conduct of board examinations for Class 10 (SSLC) and Class 12 (PUC), have pointed out that it is very challenging to hold exams in the current scenario.
“If the examinations are to be conducted, it is strongly recommended to provide ‘a special SOP’ for this purpose. The teachers should be well trained and necessary facilities should be arranged in exam centres. A special vaccination drive may be planned to provide at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all those engaged in examination work or those who are already vaccinated should be engaged,” the report on recommendations stated.