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Karnataka govt may do away with tracing, testing of contacts

The Karnataka Government seems to be mulling whether contact tracing and testing are relevant anymore.

Published: 02nd July 2020 06:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd July 2020 06:17 AM   |  A+A-

Beds being set up at Bengaluru’s Kanteerva Indoor Stadium on Saturday morning. However, the beds were removed by evening the same day | Shriram BN

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Karnataka Government seems to be mulling whether contact tracing and testing are relevant anymore. This follows suggestions by medical experts during a meeting on Wednesday to review the Covid-19 situation in Bengaluru. Given the increasing number of patients with no contact or travel history testing positive for the disease, the government is considering doing away with tracing and testing of primary and secondary contacts.

Highlighting the need to prioritise and use available resources optimally in the backdrop of an increasingly overwhelming number of cases, experts have suggested to the government that testing of all primary and secondary contacts may be futile and instead, only high-risk contacts and symptomatic persons should be tested henceforth. The government is said to be considering this suggestion seriously. 

Meanwhile, a task force has been formed by the State Government, headed by BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar, Administrative Training Institute Director-General and DULT Commissioner, for effective contact tracing. The team will trace contacts of high-risk patients within 24 hours and send them to designated hospitals.

Won’t know extent of community spread till sero-survey: Doc
Nodal officer for Covid-19 testing in the state, Dr C N Manjunath, also director of Jayadeva Hospital, told TNIE, “The pandemic first began due to international returnees. Later, it changed to domestic returnees, especially from Maharashtra. However, now due to increase in number of infected, many of their primary and secondary contacts are getting infected. Ultimately, it boils down to some form of community transmission as many do not have travel or contact history but are testing positive. We won’t know the extent of community transmission till the sero-survey.”

“There was a spike in returnees, mostly migrants, in the last week of May and the after-effects were felt in the first and second fortnight of June,” said BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar.“In June, the Unlock, opening up of markets and increased testing lead to cases crossing 700 per day, in the past week,” reasoned Hephsiba Rani Korlapati, in charge of the BBMP’s war room.KSRTC officials confirmed there have been more passengers coming to Bengaluru from Udupi and Belagavi rather than the other way round.

“People are coming back from their native places as economic activity has started in Bengaluru. Since there are rumours of another lockdown after July 7, there might be another outflow of passengers,” said B T Prabhkar Reddy, KSRTC Divisional Controller, Bengaluru.Udupi saw a spike in cases after Maharashtra recorded a huge number of cases. Thousands of workers, mainly from Udupi and surroundings, started returning to their hometowns after businesses shut. Similarly, after the lockdown, there has been an influx of workers from other states, at a time when Karnataka was handling cases better.

Railway data showed that Danapur-Bengaluru trains had an average occupancy of 59.28%, while it was 70.80% for Howrah-Bengaluru trains. But hardly any workers headed the other way round.Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Bengaluru Railway Division, A N Krishna Reddy said there has been an increase in passengers coming from Bihar and West Bengal. “We have noticed it for the last 10 days. There has been a 10-12% rise in people entering Bengaluru from these two states,” he said.

More from Karnataka.

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