BENGALURU: With the threat of Covid Delta-Plus surge looming and Maharashtra deciding to go slow with its unlocking, Karnataka’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has come out with a list of measures to be taken immediately. It has also advised the government not to hurry with relaxing the norms.
The Centre too has urged Karnataka, where two cases of Delta-Plus are seen, to take immediate containment measures, prevent crowds, conduct widespread testing and increase vaccine coverage on priority in districts where the variant has been detected.
TAC, which held a meeting on Saturday to discuss measures to contain Delta-Plus, advised the government to take follow-up action in districts, sources said. “After confirmation of the variant, a detailed epidemiological investigation shall be done by the district Rapid Response Team (RRT) under District Surveillance Officer (DSO) and the reports should be shared with the deputy commissioner, district expert committee and state Covid war room,” the TAC suggested.
Keeping in mind that it takes one to two weeks to genome sequence the samples, the TAC has advised RRTs to investigate “the clinical status of Covid-positive person, whether he/she is admitted, under home isolation, recovered or died, etc. Also, they should find out if a Covid-negative test is warranted for such people after 14 days of recovery”, said the TAC advisory. The teams are also expected to verify whether all contacts of the person tested positive for the variant were identified and tested on day 0 to day 7.
TAC bats for micro-planning
Contact tracing should be done and RT-PCR conducted on all such patients’ contacts. If tested positive, their samples too should be genome sequenced. TAC members stressed the need for micro-planning and making reporting formats stringent at the state level and then sharing it with districts for regular reporting. They said that strict containment protocols should be put in place.
An active influenza-like illness (ILI) survey in the community – an entire village in rural areas and around 100-metre radius in urban areas -- should be done urgently, TAC said. All ILI cases should be tested with RTPCR. “The State needs to step up epidemiological investigation of cluster cases along with concurrent genomic sequencing.
Rapid response teams in each district should implement the recent guidelines on strengthening epidemiological surveillance for variants of concern,” said Dr Giridhara R Babu, epidemiologist and TAC member. Dr Manjunath C N, Director, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, asked the government to postpone any decision to allow large gatherings.
“In the earlier waves, we have noticed that the surge in Karnataka has always occurred 2-4 weeks after the spurt in Maharashtra, Kerala and Delhi,” he said. He suggested that genome sequencing should be increased from 5% of samples to at least 20% to detect VOCs early. Testing should be made mandatory for those coming in from these states of concern, he said.
State logs 4k cases in 1 day
In what appears to be a clear indication of people flouting Covid norms, Karnataka on Saturday reported about 1,000 cases more than what it recorded on Friday. The state logged 4,272 fresh cases on Saturday compared with 3,310 cases the previous day.However, the positivity rate marginally dipped from 8.43% on Friday, to 8.40% on Saturday. Meanwhile, experts attribute the case increase to various factors.
‘strict vigil at state borders’
Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi on Saturday said the government contemplates making it mandatory for people entering Karnataka by crossing the border to produce a Covid-negative report. Expressing concern over rising cases of the Delta+ variant in Maharashtra, he added that his department had been working on measures to ensure strict vigil across all checkposts on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border.
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