Cases up, government not making masks mandatory yet in Karnataka

Karnataka recorded 12 deaths due to Covid in March.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | EXpress)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | EXpress)

BENGALURU:  Though several states/union territories (UTs) including Delhi, Haryana, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Kerala, Mumbai, and Uttar Pradesh, are taking measures to scale up Covid testing and make masks mandatory again, the Karnataka Health Department has no plans to enforce it yet in the state.

Anil Kumar TK, principal secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department (HFWD), told TNIE that no discussions have taken place in the state for enforcing the use of masks. Since the Covid situation is extremely volatile, especially with the neighbouring state Kerala recording the highest number of active Covid cases across the country, the state will take appropriate measures if a need arise.

Compared to other states, Karnataka stands at number nine in terms of active Covid cases recorded till April 12. The Covid cases in Karnataka have seen a gradual rise over the past few weeks with cases hitting the 1,000 mark on March 31 after a gap of 12 weeks. With the gradual rise in other Influenza-like Infections (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI), mainly H1N1 (Swine Flu) and H3N2 virus, the number of hospital admissions have also increased. 

Karnataka recorded 12 deaths due to Covid in March. The doctors stated that most cases were incidental deaths as patients suffered from other comorbidities as well. Since April 1, 9 such deaths have been reported where the patients were either extremely young or old and had either SARI-related symptoms or suffered from other comorbidities.  

Experts have attributed the rise in cases to the XBB 1.16 variant which has a faster recovery rate about 4-5 days. Though the cases requiring hospitalisations increased, the ICU admissions have not risen at a similar pace.  

Doctors said that a major reason for the rise in Covid cases has been the lack of adherence towards following Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) such as not wearing masks in crowded places and leniency in getting vaccinated with the booster dose.

Health officials stated that measures have already been taken to increase daily Covid testing to identify maximum positive cases. As directed by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Covid mock drills have also been conducted across hospitals to ensure preparedness for tackling spike in cases. The mock drills focussed on verifying bed capacities including oxygen, ventilator-supported and ICU beds, availability of doctors, oxygen supply and medicine stock.

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The New Indian Express