BENGALURU: AS the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic become graver by the passing day, the State Government has decided to ramp up coronavirus testing and is also taking measures to provide relief to people and help them cope with the lockdown. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has instructed senior officers to direct banks and micro-finance institutions to defer loan recoveries as people will find it difficult due to the COVID-19 impact and the lockdown.
Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar, who is in charge of the COVID-19 war room and crisis management in Bengaluru, said that from Friday, the government will start 31 ‘fever clinics’ in Bengaluru which will screen those who think they have COVID-19 symptoms. In the next two weeks, the government is looking at conducting 25,000 tests to get an understanding of the situation, he said.
“’Trace, Test and Treat’ will be our approach to deal with the situation. Karnataka is the first state to take precautionary measures. We have details of 1,25,000 people who have returned from abroad and they are under quarantine. Of them, we have tested only around 1,500 people. We will test around 25,000 in the next 10 days,” the minister said.
The number, however, looks ambitious given the number of tests conducted so far and the shortage of reagents. The government is procuring reagents and has also roped in more laboratories to conduct the tests, the minister said. “In last three days, there has been a significant increase in number of cases and we are concerned about it,” Sudhakar said, emphasizing the need for more tests, including random testing. Meanwhile, during a video conference with Deputy Commissioner’s to review the situation, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa directed the officers to strictly follow the guidelines and take measures required to ensure that people stay at home.
He directed the officials to completely stop people from unnecessarily roaming about on the streets and said they should be encouraged to purchase their requirements from vendors in their localities. The Deputy Commissioners were also directed to make fertilizers and pesticides available for farmers. During the meeting, the CM directed the officers to ensure that private clinics function across the state to attend to people.
State to ramp up testing; 25,000 tests in next two weeks
Banks, Micro-Finance companies will be asked to defer loan instalments
31 fever clinics to start in Bengaluru from Friday
Children, senior citizens told to be extra careful
Private clinics told to function, not stop operations