The current statewide lockdown in Karnataka is set to end on June 14, and Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had earlier hinted that districts with a test positivity rate (TPR) below 5% will see the curbs lifted. Speaking to reporters on June 5 after announcing the relief package for construction workers, the CM said, â€œIn districts with less than 5% test positivity rate, we will discuss with our officials on what concessions can be given and decide in the cabinet meeting within 4-5 days by the time lockdown ends." Going by this criterion, Bengaluru Urban is likely to see the lockdown lifted as the districtâ€™s average positivity rate, over the last seven days, is at 5.76%.
Test positivity rate refers to the percentage of all COVID-19 tests that actually turn positive for coronavirus. If the TPR is 5%, for instance, for every 100 individuals tested, 5% of them tested positive for coronavirus. Different countries have set different. A high TPR indicates a high level of transmission but a low number of tests.
Recently, the Karnataka COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) recommended that the lockdown should continue till the stateâ€™s TPR falls below 5%. According to the latest COVID-19 War Room report, Karnatakaâ€™s average test positivity rate has been 10.6% over the past seven days (till June 3). On June 5, the TPR for the state was 9.69%. Going by the available statewide data for the last seven days, Bengaluru Urban (5.76%) and nine other districts have a lower TPR than the state average. These districts are Gadag (10.41%), Dharwad (8.83%), Raichur (8.72%), Bagalkot (8.01%), Ramanagara (7%), Yadgir (6.03%), Haveri (4.5%), Kalaburagi (3.18%) and Bidar (0.74%). On the other hand, districts such as Mysuru (27.74%) and Chikkamagaluru (23.44%) are on the other side of the spectrum.
Factoring in the TACâ€™s recommendation and the current TPR, Bengaluru Urban is likely to see an ease of the lockdown restrictions. On June 3, based on the technical advisory committeeâ€™s recommendation of a TPR of 5%, Yediyurappa extended the lockdown till June 14. He also said that if the positivity rate falls below 5%, the state government will take a decision on whether to lift the lockdown.
The current lockdown restrictions in Karnataka were put in place starting from April 27 night for a fortnight as the state was facing the brunt of a devastating second wave of the pandemic. The state was witnessing a high number of deaths, and there was an acute shortage of hospital beds, oxygen, intensive care units and ventilator facilities.
Karnataka has been carrying out an average of one lakh tests per day, with a majority being RT-PCR tests.
However, with the onset of the lockdown, the state has been showing a steady downward trend of daily new cases since mid-May. On June 5, too, the state maintained the trend of having more recovered patients. Karnataka reported 25,346 recoveries on the same day, while 13,800 fresh cases were reported.
Dr CN Manjunath, Director of Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research and member of state-level Technical Advisory Committee, said the pattern in Karnataka is no different from other Indian states with big cities such as Mumbai or Chennai. The spike in cases in the districts is followed by the big spike in the cities first.
Other than the difference in trend, there was a big urban and rural divide between the other districts, too, over the last 14 days. Most districts barring Mysuru and Ballari had an overwhelming number of high cases in rural areas than in urban town centres.