The Karnataka government will decide on imposing a curfew and implementing other measures if the pandemic does not come under control in a week, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said on Monday. There is no decision to on lockdown for the time being, he told reporters in Bidar.
“COVID-19 cases are rising in the state. Night curfew has been imposed in districts where there is a high cases load. If the situation worsens in other districts, curfew will have to be imposed there as well," Yediyurappa said.
Urging people to be more careful and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour to bring the situation under control, the CM said, “We will wait for another week and take a decision accordingly."
The state crossed the 10,000-mark for new infections in a day as it reported 10,250 cases on Sunday of which 7,584 cases were reported from Bengaluru. Night curfew is in effect in Bengaluru (urban), Mysuru, Tumkuru, Kalaburagi, Bidar, Mangalore and Udupi districts from April 10 to 20 between 10om and 5am.
Meanwhile, shortage of Remdesivir injection for treatment of the virus, has also led to concerns among the authorities even as the government of India banned its export. Addressing the shortage and delay in supply of the anti-viral drug, used especially for adult patients with severe complications, Health Minister K Sudhakar said a number of companies have stopped its production.
“We need this drug. Private hospitals have complained that the medicine is not available in the market. We will discuss the issue with drug controller and supply the medicine to private hospitals at government rates," he added.
Patients and their family members are feeling the heat of the crisis.
Jayesh V, a Bengaluru resident, who tested positive for coronavirus on March 30 and was in home quarantine, is awaiting the last two doses of the drug. He was supposed to receive six doses of the drug, but after four shots, the supply stopped. He was shifted to the hospital after his fever started fluctuating and went as high as 104 along with severe body pain and cough. His saturation level was also falling below 90 and had to be put on oxygen support. “I faced a delay for at least two days. The hospital was running helter skelter to get the required doses but couldn’t," he said.
CNN-News18 independently verified the delay in supply with the administration of this hospital in North Bengaluru. Jayesh later received the doses and was discharged on April 10.
After the first wave subsided and demand for the drug went down, several manufacturers had shut shop. Dr Prasanna HM, president of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, said manufacturers have been asked to resume production, but it will take around two to three weeks for the vials to be ready for supply. “Until then we have to use what we have, judiciously. There is a 70% gap between demand and supply is what we understand prima facie. We are gathering information from all hospitals to get the exact figures," he said.
Sudhakar also held a meeting with association members via video conferencing asking them to reserve 50% of beds for Covid-19 patients. They have also been advised to vacate beds occupied by non-Covid patients who do not require urgent hospitalisation.
“Patients without symptoms and with mild symptoms will be isolated in hotels and COVID care centres. Only patients with severe conditions will be treated in hospitals," said Sudhakar. When asked about any impending lockdown, the health minister said, “We are appealing to the public not to make a lockdown inevitable."