At the outset, I assure all of you that the state government has taken necessary steps to contain the spread of COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus. Health, medical education and information departments are working with exceptional co-ordination throughout the state to fight the menace. I appeal to you all to cooperate with the Centre and the State government.
I am overwhelmed by your response to honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modiji’s call for ‘Janata Curfew’. The situation in Karnataka is under control. After a video-conference with the Prime Minister, I have directed officials to arrange 500 ventilators and 5,000 beds for the treatment of corona-affected people. Additionally, the Prime Minister has agreed to provide reagent kits in Kalaburagi and Ballari and laboratories in Hubballi and Mangaluru.
Being anxious is not a solution to the problem. To address our doubts, Captain Manivannan has launched a unique initiative. In the largest Telegram group in India -- ‘COVID-19 Karnataka: Sahaya Group’ -- a team of doctors from the ESI Directorate is working 24x7, responding to queries from citizens. You can get your doubts clarified in the group.
Also, new COVID-19 helpline numbers 080-46848600 and 080-66692000 are now functional, apart from the existing 104. On both the helpline numbers, a senior doctor and two PG medical students are available throughout the day to assist volunteers in answering the queries of citizens. I acknowledge and appreciate the relentless service of ‘health warriors’ who are attending the call of duty.
So far, only one death and 26 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state. If you think you are symptomatic or have returned from any of the COVID-affected countries, get yourself home-quarantined. Your family physician too can help you deal with the virus. Do not rush to hospitals. If symptoms aggravate, call the helpline.
Best medical care and isolation facilities are just one call away. Only sick people requiring emergency care can visit hospitals for treatment. All others with mild illnesses which require outpatient care, followup care or elective cases, including dental patients, should not visit hospitals for the next two weeks or till further orders to prevent crowding and spreading of COVID-19. Private hospitals are also instructed to take similar steps.
As you all know, the partial lockdown of the state will continue till March 31. We have constituted a special task force headed by Health Minister B Sriramulu to monitor the situation on a daily basis. The cabinet has decided to earmark Rs 200 crore for immediate expenses to contain the virus.
I sincerely request you all: Please do not pay heed to fake news doing rounds on social media. Do not panic, but do take precautions. Do not venture out or move in groups unnecessarily.
Humankind has withstood the onslaught of crises in every century. We have overcome such challenges with our concerted efforts. All we need at this juncture is the right information, patience, determination and cooperation. Eventually, COVID-19 too shall pass.