Karnataka on Wednesday witnessed yet another spike in Covid-19 cases with 1,272 new infections being recorded in the last 24 hours. More worryingly for the state, the number of active cases at 8,194 was higher than the 8,063 cured ones bringing the recovery rate to less than 50 per cent. Bangalore Urban with 4,649 active cases account now for more than half of all the active cases across the other 29 districts in the state. In just the last week, Bangalore Urban has seen its active cases quadrauple.
To address the continued spurt in cases, the state government has announced a slew of measures over the past few days including complete lockdown on Sundays starting July 5. It also has advanced curfew by one hour with no movement of traffic – except for essential services – permitted between 8 pm to 5 am.
The government had drawn considerable flak after numerous videos appeared on social media of the cavalier manner in which the Covid-19 dead patients were seen unceremoniously being dumped by sanitation workers in mass graves – in some instances using earthmovers.
While initially such acts were reported from Ballari, it has now emerged that similar incidents have been recorded in Davangare and Yadgir too. Addressing a press conference in Bangalore, chief minister B S Yediyurappa condemned the manner in which the dead bodies of Covid-19 victims were handled by authorities and said the government would ensure that such acts would not be repeated.
Health and family welfare minister B Sriramulu too condemned handling of the bodies of Covid-19 patients. “I have ordered the suspension of eight workers involved in this act (in Ballari). I have sought a detailed enquiry into the whole incident and we will take action against those responsible,” he said on Wednesday. The DC of Ballari on Tuesday had expressed his regrets and apologised for the manner in which the bodies were handled.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka commissioner of health and family welfare services Pankaj Kumar Pandey on Wednesday issued a notice to nine leading private hospitals seeking their explanation after a Covid-19 positive patient named Bhawarlal Sujani was turned away by them without providing any medical assistance. Sujani later died due to lack of medical attention.
The hospitals have been asked to reply to the show-cause notice within 24 hours as to why action should not be initiated against them under provisions of Karnataka Private Medical Establishments act as well as State Disaster Management Act.