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K'taka Health Minister says third wave has arrived

 
Bengaluru, Jan 4 (IANS) Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Tuesday said that the third wave of the coronavirus has arrived in the state. The Covid positivity rate has risen from 0.4 per cent to 1.6 per cent, he added. For six months, not even 0.1 per cent cases were there.

In one day, it has gone up to 1.6 per cent. What do you think? Is this not a third wave? he questioned.

Speaking to reporters, Sudhakar further stated that the state Congress party leaders are mobilising thousands of people from other districts for Padayatra (protest march) in Bengaluru.

"It is good that they are doing it for implementation of the Mekedatu project which would provide drinking water to the city. The project was conveniently forgotten when they were in power for six years."

"They will have to take responsibility if the padayatra causes spread of infection," he warned. A decision will be taken in Tuesday evening meeting on large gatherings including political rallies, he added.

Reacting to a question on whether the government is considering the lockdown option, he stated, "I request you do not use harsh words like lockdown. Life is coming back to normalcy just now. If a lockdown is imposed it will affect the people much more. Controlling the menace is one thing but its impact will be huge on people. Keeping all this in mind, we will decide what should be done without causing much hardship on the common man. It is certainly a challenge to the government," he explained.

Minister Sudhakar said that special rules will be made for Bengaluru.

"Bengaluru was the epicentre of the pandemic during the first and second wave. It is going to be an epicentre during the third wave also. As this is the first point for international passengers to the state," he said.

He stated that Covid cases are increasing day by day. Among the total cases, 90 per cent are in Bengaluru alone. The government will keep more vigil at the international airport.

The decision will also be taken on creating micro containment zones and other measures will also be announced by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai after the meeting.

Talking about vaccination drives for 15 to 18 years age beneficiaries, he explained that 4.22 lakh doses have been administered against the set target of 6.38 lakh. About 66 per cent vaccination has been done and Karnataka stands at the fourth position in the country. The state has identified 43 lakh beneficiaries and they will be vaccinated in the next 10 to 15 days, he added.

The Central government has yet to give guidelines on the administration of a second dose of vaccination for this age group, he said.

The Omicron variant is spreading fast around the world. In India also it has started spreading from the new-year in all cities. In Maharashtra, more cases are being reported. Delhi has also reported more cases. "These developments have made us more vigilant," he said.

"We cannot completely stop the spread but surely can prevent it. We are trying measures to prevent it. The decision will also be taken on restrictions to be placed on people who come to the state from Maharashtra and Kerala in trains and buses," he said.

--IANS
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