BENGALURU: Ten of the 30 districts in Karnataka have reported Covid-19 test positivity rate that is above the state average of nearly 1.4% over the past seven days (July 25 to July 31). Dakshina Kannada has topped the state with 5.6%, followed by Chikkamagaluru above 4.8%
Eight of the 10 districts have reported a positivity rate of more than 2%. Experts have suggested stringent measures like weekend and night curfews in these districts to contain the spread of Covid-19. These include Kodagu (4.7%), Udupi (4.3%), Hassan (2.7%) and Shivamogga (2.3%).
Fifteen districts have a reported test positivity rate of less than 1% during the seven-day period. Bengaluru Urban’s test positivity rate was 0.8%.
On Saturday, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai held a video conference with deputy commissioners from the districts.
Districts must ramp up Covid testing: Expert
More cases are being seen, mainly in border districts. We must watch out. Restrictions have to be imposed. Night and weekend curfews and preventing crowding need to be done ,” said Dr V Ravi, virologist and member of Covid technical advisory committee.
Experts have raised concerns over the gradual inching up of effective reproduction number (R rate) towards 1. The R rate in Karnataka was 0.88 on July 28. It may be recalled that R rate was 0.85 on February 12 and neared 2 in May when the second wave of the Covid-19 hit a peak. Effective reproductive number is the number of people who can be infected by an individual.
“This is a way towards an impending outbreak. Once the effective reproduction number crosses 1, we see a spurt in cases. If we don’t curb the surge now, we will see another wave,” said Dr Giridhar R Babu, epidemiologist and member of Covid technical advisory committee.
“If we continue the expanded vaccination coverage, hospitalisation requirement will be less even if there are more cases,” he said, adding the areas with low serological prevalence are better taken care of with strengthening of testing and early management of cases, along with efforts made to vaccinate all eligible persons against Covid.
Dr Babu suggested that the need is to bring in restrictions and prevent more people from attending closed-door events .
Districts with a test positivity rate of more than 2% should implement strict containment measures and increase testing, an expert said. Though the spike in cases is seen in coastal Karnataka, the districts bordering Maharashtra too should be on guard. “In Bidar and Belagavi, we must not wait for the test positivity rate to touch 2% and then bring in curbs,” said experts.