BENGALURU: Five districts in Karnataka are on the Centre’s radar for contributing to an increase in the number of daily new Covid cases over the last two weeks.
Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Uttar Kannada, Chamarajanagar and Udupi have been marked as ‘Districts of Concern’ by the Union Health Ministry.
“India’s active caseload has declined consistently, but some of the states have localised districts that are reporting higher cases which is a concern. We are in touch with the states and monitoring those districts closely,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry on Tuesday.
While a majority of the districts are from Kerala, Karnataka is fourth in the list.
All the five districts in Karnataka are bordering Kerala and Tamil Nadu — the states that continue to report a high number of cases.
While the Karnataka government recently made RT-PCR negative report mandatory for those entering the state from Kerala and Maharashtra, it also imposed night curfew across the state and weekend curfew in border districts to control the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, the Chamarajanagar district administration has made RTPCR report mandatory for travellers from Tamil Nadu too.
“We have intensified screening of people at several checkposts, like at Punajanur, Naal Road near Aradhanipura and Palar in Hanur taluk. We are keeping a vigil on tourist places in these districts. Contact tracing has been upped and we have ordered an increase in the number of tests in these and other such districts,” said a senior official from the state health department.
Health officials said an order has been passed to form a Rapid Response Team (RRT) in each state.
In Karnataka, too, this team will be formed which will consist of a clinician, microbiologist and a member form a medical college (preferably from community medicine).
The team will monitor the genome situation across districts in the state.
In case of new mutations, the RRT would do contact tracing, epidemiological investigation, including number of cases, deaths in the community etc, and clinical assessment to look for any change in the severity of mortality.
Samples will be collected from family members and contacts in households that have tested positive to look for new variants, and necessary containment measures will be put in place.
The team will provide daily status reports to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Centre has reportedly asked senior health officials, including the principal secretary, health and MD, National Health Mission, to periodically review the situation and ensure sentinel surveys are held with adequate number of samples for genome sequencing and review the correlation between mutants and variants of concern with epidemiological and clinical data.