As Karnataka gears up for festive season, experts ring alarm bells on covid reinfections, breakthrough cases

News Network
September 10, 2021

Bengaluru, Sept 10: Experts have urged the Karnataka government to take measures to prevent reinfections of coronavirus as the people are gearing up for the festive season of October-November. They also have sought a third dose of the covid-19 vaccine during the year-end months to effectively protect people. 

Those who were infected during the second wave of covid-19 in summer this year may be vulnerable to reinfections as the antibodies could wane after six months, experts said.

They also predicted about 10 per cent of breakthrough infections, that is when the coronavirus overpowers the antibodies induced by a vaccine. 

Cases have been on the rise in isolated parts of the world, mainly due to the infectious Delta variant of the virus. This surge has renewed focus on a widely predicted third wave of infections in India, with children reportedly being the key targets.

“It is important to keep a close watch on the situation till November mainly because of the possibility of a surge in reinfection,” said Dr MK Sudarshan, chairman, state Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). He further sought adequate measures from the government to arrest a surge while advising people to not let their guard down. 

The coming months become more crucial as the massive infections in the second wave leave a big part of the population susceptible to reinfections. As many as 16 lakh people contracted the virus in the state in April and May alone, about half of them in Bengaluru. 

Sudarshan told the publication that by November, a clearer picture of the pandemic may appear but until then, all precautions have to be taken seriously. 

These expert alarms also come amid increasing pressure on the state government to ease restrictions amid the festive season, like the night curfew, which has been extended till the month-end by Basavaraj Bommai administration. 

As previously reported, a third wave, if struck, won't be as deadly as the second since a significant number of people have been inoculated with at least one dose of vaccine. And experts say reinfections or breakthrough cases won't nearly be as serious and may not even require hospitalisation. 

Virologist T Jacob John called for a third dose of the vaccine, or also called the 'booster shots' in other parts of the world, to prevent infections. "With the present supply and a little ramping up of production, the government can easily ensure the continuation of the vaccination drive and cover everyone with a third dose,” said John, expecting demand worries to ease in November following the expected completion of first-dose vaccination of the target population. 

Health officials told the publication that they are awaiting a signal from the Centre on further guidelines. “We have no instructions either from the Centre or ICMR on measures like a third dose. We have to see how it pans out in October-November and take steps based on the emerging situation,” said K V Trilok Chandra, Health Commissioner.

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News Network
September 14,2021

Mangaluru, Sept 14: Offline classes for grades 8, 9 and 10 will commence in Dakshina Kannada district from September 17 and for grades 6 and 7 from September 20.

Deputy commissioner KV Rajendra chairing an official meeting on Monday said that schools should compulsorily follow Covid-19 guidelines while commencing offline classes. 

“Nearly 99% of teachers and staff in schools in the district have received vaccines. Currently, 261 children are undergoing treatment for Covid-19. Take initiatives for the treatment of children and trace their contacts. Teachers should ensure that all children entering classes are wearing masks and follow social distancing strictly,” the DC said.

He said schools should continue the online classes even after the commencement of offline classes. “Consent letters from parents should be obtained compulsorily before allowing children to attend offline classes. Students from Kerala should stay in hostels or they may continue to attend online classes,” he said.

Schools should provide basic facilities including toilets before the commencement of offline classes. Teachers and staff should undergo Covid-19 tests periodically and ensure that parents of children attending classes have no symptoms of Covid-19, he added.

Though the DC allowed PU colleges to commence offline classes for I PU, the date has not been fixed. DDPU C D Jayanna said that classes will be commenced for I PU as per guidelines soon.

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News Network
September 13,2021

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 13: An Air India Express flight which took off from Kerala for Sharjah, in the UAE, on Monday morning with 170 passengers was forced to turn back shortly after taking off due to a technical glitch.

The plane, which also had a crew of six, landed safely at Thiruvananthapuram airport and another flight was arranged for the passengers, including five infants, to travel to Sharjah, an Air India Express (AIE) spokesperson said.

According to an official of the airport, the incident occurred at around 7 am.

The AIE spokesperson said the pilots noticed the technical glitch around half an hour after take-off and immediately decided to turn back to Thiruvananthapuram.

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News Network
September 3,2021

Managluru, Sept 3: Amid continued covid-19 crisis in Kerala, it has been observed that students and employees arriving from there with negative RT-PCR reports are testing Covid-19 positive during a repeat test in Karnataka and a number of such cases are being reported in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi.

In this regard, students and employees coming from Kerala shall compulsorily bring negative RT-PCR certificates that are not older than 72 hours, irrespective of their Covid vaccination status (one or two doses), and the validity of such certificates is for seven days, said Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Jawaid Akhtar in a circular issued here on Wednesday.

The necessary arrangements for institutional quarantine of students from Kerala have to be done by the administrators/principals of the educational institutions. In the case of employees, necessary arrangements for institutional quarantine are to be made by the respective offices/companies/firms, the order further said. Under no circumstances will such persons be permitted to be in home isolation.

The persons shall compulsorily be in institutional quarantine and under strict supervision for seven days. On the seventh day they shall be tested by RT-PCR and on testing negative they shall be released. They shall further do self-assessment and in case of onset of symptoms, they shall get RT-PCR test done, seek medical consultation and follow the state protocol.

The person who tests positive shall compulsorily be shifted to a CCC and the contacts tested by RT-PCR, and if negative, placed under institutional quarantine for seven days, and on testing RT-PCR negative on the seventh day, he/she shall be released.

ln cases of breakthrough infection (occurring 14 days after the second vaccine dose) and samples with Ct value higher than 25, the person shall be compulsorily sent for whole genomic sequencing and pending results, the samples may be subjected to reflex/variant PCR testing (after the test kits are validated) to know the variant quickly.

Visitors from Kerala other than students and employees should produce the RT- PCR negative test report and should be in home quarantine for seven days.

Other permitted exemptions for institutional quarantine are constitutional functionaries, health care professionals and their spouses, children below two years, those in dire emergency situations (death in the family, medical treatment etc.), short term travellers (leaving within three days), students arriving in Karnataka for writing exams along with one parent (leaving within three days), and passengers in transit from and to Kerala via any mode of transport.

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