Karnataka on Thursday decided to rope in services of Revenue Department staff also to contain a possible emergence of a second wave of COVID-19 in the state. After chairing a meeting of experts and officials concerned, Health Minister K Sudhakar told reporters that there is no need to panic at this juncture but to be doubly sure, the government has decided to rope Revenue Department staff, wherever there is a shortfall of staff.
He added that the government will also hold discussions with private hospitals to reserve beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients. "If infection spreads, we will have to rope in private hospitals as well to ensure sufficient availability of beds. The heads of respective institutions will be held accountable for any lapse," he said.
According to the minister, there was a lack of information and awareness when the pandemic hit 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. People should follow precautions and should not let the guard down," he said.
On the preparation front, Sudhakar said that a 1,000-bed COVID Care Centre will be operational in Bengaluru by March 22 and as many as 200 ambulances are readied in Bengaluru to ensure that there is no inadequacy of ambulances for emergencies. A COVID war room will start operating as well.
"We will monitor the situation using real-time data. Decision has been made to recruit resident doctors and paramedical staff on a temporary basis," he added.
Emphasising on vaccine coverage, Sudhakar said that the state had shown that 2.5 lakh inoculations can be done in a single day. "Based on this experience, 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 years with comorbidities, we can mitigate the second wave," he said.