South India staring at second Covid wave?


By Express News Service

CHENNAI/BENGALURU/HYDERABAD/VIJAYAWADA: In a worrying development, most southern states have been witnessing a significant surge in Covid-19 cases over the past few days.

Karnataka has added up to 1,488 fresh infections to its Covid tally, taking the total cases to 9.65 lakh. The toll rose to 12,415 with eight related fatalities, the Health department said on Thursday. This is for the third consecutive day that the state is reporting over 1,000 new cases. Out of the 1,488 fresh cases reported on Thursday, 925 were from Bengaluru Urban alone. Bengaluru accounts for over 72 per cent of the total active cases in the state at present.

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As of March 18 evening, cumulatively 9,65,102 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 12,415 deaths, the Health Department said in its bulletin. Given the situation, Karnataka has shifted gears and is reintroducing measures taken during the peak of the pandemic last year to prevent a possible second wave and mitigate its impact. For the next 50 days, doctors, healthcare workers and officials will work in mission mode to take preventive measures as well as to ramp up the vaccination drive.

“If we vaccinate senior citizens and those aged above 45 with comorbidities, we can mitigate the second wave,” Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on Thursday after taking stock of the situation at a meeting with the heads of government hospitals in Bengaluru.

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The government has set an ambitious target of vaccinating three lakh people per day. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu reported as many as 989 new cases and nine deaths were recorded on the day, taking the State’s tally to 8,63,363 and the toll to 12,573. Chennai alone reported 394 cases. With this, the active case count in the State have gone up to 6,222. Despite this, the urban community health centres (UCHC) and primary health centres (PHC) offering Covid vaccines said they were low on stock on Covishield, and that only Covaxin was available, as on Thursday.

A UCHC staff in Perungudi said the available doses of Covishield was being reserved for those who would return for their second jab. The cumulative Covid cases in Andhra Pradesh increased to 8,92,740 with the addition of 218 in the 24 hours ending 9am on Thursday. The latest bulletin said 117 patients had recovered from the infection, taking the total to 8,83,759.

The overall toll remained at 7,186 as no fresh deaths were reported in a day, it said. The state now has 1,795 active cases. Various districts in Telangana too saw a sharp spike in cases on the day. The state reported 278 new cases. Three deaths were also reported, taking the total toll so far to 1,662.

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