Karna govt geared to mitigate impact of possible COVID-19 second wave: Health Minister

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Bengaluru, Mar 18 (PTI) The Karnataka government is prepared to tackle and mitigate the impact of a possible second wave of COVID-19 and healthcare workers and officials are set to work in a mission mode in the next 50 days, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said on Thursday.

Chairing a meeting of senior officials and heads of key government hospitals to discuss the course of action in the wake of the uptick in fresh cases in recent days, he also emphasised on ramping up vaccine coverage and appealed to the public to follow precautions and not let the guard down.

Announcing measures, including recruitment of doctors and paramedical staff on a temporary basis, to strengthen the healthcare system, he said a 1,000-bed Covid Care Centre was being readied here and it would become operational by Monday.

'A few days ago nearly 2.5 lakh inoculations were done in a day. So it is possible to ramp up coverage and a target has been set to vaccinate 3 lakh people per day. If we vaccinate senior citizens and people above 45 with comorbidities, we can mitigate the second wave,' an official release quoted him as saying.

Karnataka reported over 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the second straight day on Wednesday, taking the cumulative caseload to 9,63,614, including 12,407 deaths and 9,40,968 discharges. The number of active cases stood at 10,220.

Noting that 200 ambulances have been deployed in the state capital to ensure easy availability during emergency, Sudhakar said the 'War Room' will start operating as it was during last year and the government will monitor the situation using real-time data.

Decision has been made to recruit resident doctors and paramedical staff on a temporary basis, he said.

'There was a lack of information and awareness when the pandemic hit us last year. Yet, we were successful in controlling the pandemic. We are now anticipating a possible second wave and preparing to fight it. We also have the advantage of vaccines now which we didn't have last year,' he said.

The government will hold the first round of discussion with private hospitals this week to reserve beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients, the Minister said, adding they would be asked to ensure sufficient availability in case the infection spread further.

The heads of respective institutions will be held accountable for any lapses, he warned.

The Health Minister also said he has instructed officials to ensure that vaccine doses were not wasted, adding he will personally monitor it on a daily basis. PTI KSU VS VS