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Double Whammy for North Karnataka as Officials Struggle to Contain Covid-19 Outbreak amid Floods

Image for representation

Image for representation

There is increasing concern that there could be an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in these relief camps as it is difficult to adhere to social distancing norms.

Health officials working in north Karnataka's flood-affected districts are facing a daunting task of limiting the spread of Covid-19 in relief camps where thousands of villagers have been moved.

According to a report in The Times of India, many villages situated along the Krishna, Malaprabha and Ghataprabha rivers in Belagavi, Gadag, Bagalkot, and Raichur districts have been submerged after heavy showers. Residents of these hamlets have been moved to relief camps for safety.

There is increasing concern that there could be an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in these relief camps as it is difficult to adhere to social distancing norms. The report added that close to 500 people have taken shelter in a camp at Lakamapur in Gadag district.

Prabhugouda Patil, a flood victim, told the publication that after he got to know about the abysmal facilities at the camp, he and his family took the difficult decision to live on a tractor in a far off place. He said that the chances of the novel coronavirus spreading in these camps were high, despite the district officials giving out sanitisers and masks. Patil said that many had shared his worry and had left the camps owing to fear of contracting the infection.

Meanwhile, Belagavi deputy commissioner MG Hiremath told ToI that close to 2,000 individuals were shifted to four relief camps at Gokak, Mudalagi, Raibag and Surebana. “...We have allotted more rooms in government schools to maintain physical distancing, and are providing masks and hand sanitisers. A thermal scanner and pulse oximeter have been given for each camp, and Asha workers who are deployed at the camps will screen flood victims and check oxygen levels of senior citizens,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that the district administration has implemented enough measures in order to ensure that the viral infection does not advance in the camps. Mudhol in Bagalkot district, for instance, is witnessing close to 30 Covid-19 cases in a day, with social distancing not being followed.

Meanwhile, Karnataka on Wednesday saw 8,642 new cases taking the total infections to 2,49,590 while the toll reached 4,327 with 126 deaths. As many as 7,201 people were discharged, pushing the total recoveries to 1,64,150 and the number of active cases was put at 81,097, including 704 in the intensive care units of various hospitals, the Health department said in a statement.