In second Covid wave, 64% of Karnataka villages hit | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Nearly 64% of villages in Karnataka are in the grip of Covid-19 in the second wave, shows a survey by the rural development department, reflecting how the tables have turned since the first wave when rural areas were largely untouched. The shifting scourge — a pattern seen across the country — has driven home the need for increased testing and vaccination in villages, besides strengthening of the health infrastructure.
Of the 29,000 revenue villages surveyed, Covid infections had spread to 18,528 in the state till May 30, officials said. These villages are spread across about 50% of the 6,000 gram panchayats in the state. In some respite, the survey found that 10,472 villages have reported zero cases so far.
The administration is now scrambling to “safeguard” the villages that have remained untouched. “The gram panchayat task forces have been asked to keep a close watch on people who are coming from other villages and other areas to the zeroinfection villages, apart from monitoring residents going to other parts of the state,” said RDPR principal secretary LK Atheeq. ZP CEOs have been asked to provide medicine kits even before test reports come back positive or negative.
While the infection has spread across some 3,000 GPs, the distribution is not even. While some have a greater proportion of affected villages, some have a higher case burden in villages.
Officials said few villages have recorded 50-100 cases, while majority have reported single-digit infections. The coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada are worst affected, they added, with up to 99% of villages reporting at least 2-3 cases.
More than 80% of villages in Ballari have reported Covid-19 cases while in Chitradurga, it is about 40%. Ballari ZP chief executive officer (CEO) KR Nandini said: “During the initial days, it was extremely difficult for us to convince people to come to Covid Care Centres and avoid the risk of infecting other family members. However, now the situation is improving.” Of the 1,043 villages in the district, around 126 have less than 10 cases.
Ramanagara and Bidar are better off — with only 14% and 18% of the villages respectively reporting cases.
District officials say convincing villagers to get admitted to CCCs has proved a challenge, hampering measures to contain and control the spread of the pandemic. “There has been a lot of resistance from people in the villages and we are trying to send them to CCCs for better care. But there is not even 50% occupancy,” said Atheeq. For example, in Belagavi, which has reported Covid cases in 1,011 of 1,275 villages, only 300 beds in the 2,400-bed CCC are occupied.

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Sagar Biswas

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