The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for COVID-19 in Karnataka has said the second wave of the pandemic is expected in early 2021 and has made a slew of recommendations including banning public celebrations ahead of the new year in a bid to avert a crisis. It has also recommended clamping night curfew during that period, but the government said it was yet to take a call on the matter.
The TAC has said the second wave of the pandemic was expected in January-February next year. It has asked to keep ready by first week of January, clinical facilities at October level (when daily cases were about 10,000 per day) in terms of beds, ICUs, ventilators, and so on, both in government and private hospitals or this could be ramped up at a short notice of 2-3 days maximum.
It has also recommended a ban on new year public celebrations from December 26 to January 1 and impose night curfew (8 pm to 5 am) during this period.
The TAC, based on the deliberations at its 53rd meeting held on November 24, has given advisory on recognition and containment measures for the second wave of COVID-19 in Karnataka.
According to TAC, early recognition of the second wave of COVID-19 in the state can be done by closely monitoring the 7-day average growth rate and reproduction number (R0) at district and state levels.
It said an epidemic intelligence team shall be supporting the state war room for early recognition of the second wave and alert the Additional Chief Secretary and Commissioner of the Health and Family Welfare department.
Speaking to reporters, Health Minister Sudhakar said a meeting will be held at the government level regarding the TAC recommendations.
"Our positivity rate is less than 1.2 per cent. The report of the TAC states that there may be a second wave. A meeting regarding this will be held in a couple of days. Based on the outcome of the meet, discussions will be held with the Chief Minister and the final decisions will be taken," he said.
To a query on the night curfew, he said no decision has been taken. A meeting is yet to take place to discuss on the recommendations.
According to experts the second wave is anticipated usually three to four months after the first spike or wave i.e., January- February 2021.
This is factoring in winter, unlocking progress, weak enforcements, population movements, etc.
Noting that a minimum of 1.25 lakh tests per day should continue till the end of February 2021, of which one lakh shall be RT-PCR ( 1:5 pooled in lab as per state protocol), the TAC advisory recommends for fortnightly testing of all teachers, pupils, and staff in educational institutions, Anganwadi staff, and others by RT-PCR.