The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has issued an advisory to the state government on recognition and containment measures for the second wave of coronavirus across the state, which is said to come between the months of January and February.
With countries like the USA, Europe, Australia already having experienced the second wave and states in India such as Kerala, Delhi and Haryana which have witnessed a surge in the cases, it is important that Karnataka takes the necessary actions to handle a possible outbreak.
Comparing the COVID19 with the infections caused respiratory viruses like influenza, some researchers have pointed out that the seasonal changes in the people’s behaviour and the effect it has on the virus can bring about a rise in the spread of the infection. So with winter slowly starting in the state, the TAC in its 53rd meeting, has issued certain recommendations that can help to contain the second wave, if it comes.
The TAC has warned and has asked to keep ready by the first week of January, clinical facilities equivalent to how it was in October when the cases were at its peak, in terms of beds, ICUs, ventilators, and so on, both in government and private hospitals or this could be ramped up at a short notice of 2-3 days maximum. It has recommended a ban on big gatherings including weddings, festivals, fairs, new year public celebrations from December 26 to January 1 and strictly restrict super spreader events during December and January (winter months) like permitting events only in open areas like marriages, etc with a cap of 100 people. It could be 200 for political and public events, up to 50 in death ceremonies and 20 in funerals. It has suggested that the state impose night curfew (8 pm to 5 am) during this period.
It has suggested that an early recognition of the second wave of COVID-19 in the state can be done by closely monitoring the 7-day average growth rate and reproduction number (R0) at district and state levels. It said an epidemic intelligence team shall be supporting the state war room for early recognition of the second wave and alert the additional chief secretary and commissioner of the health and family welfare department.
The TAC advisory has recommended fortnightly testing of all teachers, pupils, and staff in educational institutions, Anganwadi staff, and others by RT-PCR. It has suggested exploring Covid Care Centres (CCCs) to be run on PPP(Public Private Partnership) model with reputed NGOs for better facilities, services, and care.
Also the schools will be reopened at a later stage after studying the COVID19 situation. It will be reopened in a graded system suggesting the classes 12 and 10 to open initially from January and classes 11 and 9 to follow later on.
TAC has suggested stringent measures to be enforced including the usage of facemasks, having marshals/police fine violators of the rule in busy areas like markets, bus stops, commercial areas, buses, and traffic junctions.