Karnataka Draws Up Action Plan, to Use Medical, Nursing Students to Combat Covid-19

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With four lakh active Covid-19 cases in Karnataka, the State government on Saturday drew a detailed action plan to combat the pandemic. The action plan includes roping in final year medical and nursing students.

The government decided to use the students in the final year of Nursing, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Ayush doctors, dentists and hospital management for Covid-19 duty. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa with the head of top private medical hospitals.

Later, the Chief Minister posted a series of tweets on his Twitter handle. "Held detailed discussion with management of private hospitals to expand availability of beds and optimise the existing resources. Oxygen beds will be set up at stepdown hospitals using portable oxygen concentrators and centralised oxygen beds will be converted into ICU beds," Yediyurappa tweeted.

His office issued a statement detailing the measures taken by the government. "To overcome the shortage of 'medical human resource', the government has decided to rope in final year medical and nursing students for the COVID duty and give them grace marks. Their final year exam will be postponed and they will be given incentives," a statement read.

Further, it was decided to enrol doctors with the Karnataka Medical Council who have completed their courses in foreign countries, and put them on COVID duty. The government doctors with less workload would be identified and assigned for COVID duty, the statement read.

It has also been decided to convert hotels as step-down hospitals with oxygenated beds and convert the existing oxygenated beds into ICU beds. Converting medical college hostels into oxygenated beds and giving financial aid to the private medical colleges to set up oxygen generation plants were part of the action plan.

Patients would be triaged to minimise the number of patients in the hospitals and those who are asymptomatic would be asked to isolate at home where they would be given telemedicine. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi had advised to the Chief Ministers in his recent video conference, there would be an audit of oxygen and Remdesivir injection to prevent their misuse.

The government also decided to gear up for the third wave of Covid-19 by forming a panel of experts and speed up the vaccination drive. "An expert group will be constituted to advise the government on prevention and mitigation of possible third and future waves of infection. The pandemic is an unprecedented challenge to humanity and we have to defeat it together with confidence, compassion and collaboration," Yediyurappa tweeted.

These measures were taken as the State has started logging around 40,000 to 48,000 cases daily with Bengaluru seeing over 50 per cent of the daily caseloads and fatalities. Already, the government has appointed a senior IPS officer to arrange 4,000 ICU beds in the city with 500 beds in each of the eight municipal zones.

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