The Karnataka government on Wednesday decided to conduct random testing on slum dwellers, vendors and bill collectors at markets, delivery and courier boys among others, aimed at effective surveillance following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
"In view of the recent increase of COVID 19 cases and to ensure effective surveillance, it is hereby directed that random testing using RT-PCR pooled sample technique be done for certain category of persons," the circular issued by the Additional Chief Secretary, (Health and Family Welfare Department) Jawaid Akhtar said.
The category of people include slum dwellers, vendors or bill collectors in malls, supermarkets, markets and footpaths, and delivery boys of food chains and couriers, it said, adding that preference should be given to include persons above 50 years of age and those with co-morbidities.
Those likely to come in contact with the maximum number of persons in markets and malls should be included in the sample as per the capacity of the districts, which should be inclusive of samples collected by routine testing as per protocols issued previously, the circular said.
The Commissioner, BBMP (Bengaluru civic body) and Deputy Commissioners of districts, in consultation with the local expert committee, will identify the persons and locations from which random samples are to be collected, it added.
On Wednesday, the COVID-19 death toll in Karnataka breached the 100 mark as the state reported eight new fatalities and 204 cases, taking the total number of infections to 7,734.
However, the Chief Minister of Karnataka told Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his video conference with all the chief ministers, that the state was tackling coronavirus well.
The Chief Minister said the timely adoption of the 5T policy of trace, track, test, treat and technology helped the state fight the virus.
Of the 7,734 positive cases registered across the state till Wednesday since March 10, the recovery rate has been above the national average of 51% to touch 4,804, while active cases remained at 2,824, with 102 deaths, as of June 17 evening.
"We are ramping up the healthcare infrastructure to treat 2 lakh coronavirus infected patients from the present 1-lakh capacity. We have also set up 673 fever clinics across the state to test asymptomatic persons and contain the virus spread," Yediyurappa told Modi during the hour-long interaction.
The state has also increased COVID-19 labs to 72 with a capacity to conduct 15,000 tests a day.
"For every 10-lakh population, 7,500 tests are being conducted and results have shown that only 1.6 per cent of them (tests) were positive. The pandemic growth rate has been 3.6 per cent so far," Yediyurappa told the PM.
With inputs from agencies