The Impact of COVID-19 in Karnataka

In India, the coronavirus epidemic has wrecked the medical system, with deaths occurring in ambulances and public parks outside hospitals, as well as overloaded crematoriums. Hundreds of hospitals in a number of Indian cities and towns have run out of oxygen.

On March 8, 2020, the first case of the COVID-19 pandemic was verified in the Indian state of Karnataka. Two days later, the state became the first in India to use the clauses of India's Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, to halt the disease's spread for a year.

Rise of COVID-19 in the State

The Karnataka Task Advisory Committee on COVID-19 has asked the state government to enforce stringent restrictions, including a 14-day lockdown, to break the chain after Bengaluru reported 150,000 active coronavirus cases on April 24, 2021, the highest for any city in the world. The panel's representatives have also advised the government to increase the number of beds available to help alleviate the crisis. TAC members also expect the third wave of COVID to arrive in October-November and have demanded that the government finish immunizing vulnerable age groups before the next wave arrives.

The death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic in Karnataka has risen to 23,306 as the Department of Health and Family Welfare has attributed more deaths in the last few days to the epidemic. Bengaluru Urban alone was responsible for 15,879 of the 39,510 new infections. So far, 23.1L infections and 23,306 deaths have been recorded in Karnataka.

In the meantime, the state's active caseload increased to 5,87,452 cases. So far, 14,05,869 people have been released, with 22,584 released on Tuesday. According to the health bulletin, the state inoculated 1.26 lakh people, including 20,278 people aged 18 to 44.

As a destructive second wave of COVID-19 infection wreaks devastation in India, one of the most major challenges has been a lack of medical oxygen to treat patients. Individuals and hospitals have used digital platforms to seek oxygen supplies, and some hospitals have gone to the judiciary to request that their oxygen supply be replenished temporarily.

Several hospitals in Bengaluru have issued oxygen requests, with some also requesting that patients who have already been admitted find another bed because they are running out of the life-sustaining gas.

The news comes on the heels of the deaths of 23 COVID-19 patients in the state's Chamarajanagar district in less than a day, with at least some of the deaths due to a lack of oxygen in the district hospital.

Socio-Economic Impact

In an effort to jump-start the state's economy, the Karnataka government declared on April 23 a conditional relaxation of lockdown restrictions by exempting certain economic activity in the state. The relaxations, on the other hand, do not apply in the defined containment zones. Outside of city limits, the majority of manufacturing, construction, and food processing units were exempted. Hotels and homestays where people were stranded due to the lockout were permitted to open, as well as various supply chain facilities at railway stations, seaports, and airports. The majority of services rendered by self-employed individuals, such as plumbers, technicians, and carpenters, were also permitted. Officials stressed, however, that various District Administrations would clear all exemptions after reviewing people's compliance with the lockdown guidelines in their respective regions, and that relaxations would be subject to strict adherence to social distancing norms and workplace sanitization.

The government's orders on Friday to close places of trade, manufacturing, and social activity to prevent coronavirus cases from spreading have seen the city descend into a virtual ghost town in only the first 24 hours of the lockdown. The city's buying and economic strength has dwindled at the same time. As financial experts from all walks of life struggled to figure out how much money had been lost, B. T. Manohar, a tax expert for the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, cautioned that the state treasury would lose Rs 2,000 crore in GST and sales tax revenue alone if the shutdown lasted even a week.

Helping Hands & Precautionary Measures

  • On May 18, the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) announced the opening of a 150-bed oxygenated Covid treatment centre on the grounds of the Kempegowda International Airport. The facility will include a pharmacy, pathology unit, nurses' station, showers, and a dining area, according to BIAL officials. While appropriate drinking water facilities and visitor areas will be established, an ambulance will be on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to emergencies. The centre will also ensure that waste, including bio-waste, is properly disposed of.
  • The BBMP, Bengaluru's local civic body, named 198 nodal officers on Wednesday, one for each of the city's wards. The nodal officers have been directed by BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta to facilitate the establishment and operation of a Decentralised Triage and Emergency Response (DETER) system in each ward.
  • In a move that is expected to improve access to adequate Covid-19 care in Bengaluru, the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) declared that triage centres would open across the city's 28 segments. Triaging determines whether patients need home isolation, stabilisation centres, or hospitalisation, as well as whether they require hospital beds with or without oxygen and ventilators.
  • Valliappa Foundation has spoken with the Government Health Department to determine where the caseload is the highest and where these OC will be deployed. They contributed to the construction of a 120-bed OC hospital in Bangalore.
  • On Thursday, the BMTC, in collaboration with NGOs, will launch the ‘Oxygen on Wheel' project at Victoria Hospital, providing relief to Covid patients waiting for oxygen near hospitals. The public transportation company collaborated with a number of NGOs, including Foundation India, to create a free oxygen bank/parlour. It converted a non-AC bus into an oxygen bank with two concentrators and four cylinders that can serve six people at once. The bus will be parked at Victoria Hospital from 10.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. It will be free for all who call 9731007191 on a first-come, first-served basis.