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Karnataka Not Following Testing Policy, Says Top Expert, As Cases Rise

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80 to 90 percent of the infected people are asymptomatic, Dr MK Sudarshan said.

Bengaluru:

A top government expert in Karnataka has told NDTV that the state is witnessing a spike in Covid cases as the testing has been ramped up.  

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Covid waves in Bengaluru follow the pattern in Delhi and Mumbai and the numbers should have plateaued by now, as is happening in two other metros. But the city is witnessing a surge with 46,426 new cases being logged on Monday. 32 people had died, taking the overall tally to 38,614.

On Sunday, the state had recorded 50,210 fresh infections.

Dr MK Sudarshan, the chairman of technical advisory committee, told NDTV in an exclusive interview that the state is not following the ICMRs testing policy, which requires only symptomatic patients to be tested.  

“The cases have shot up due to increase in testing… asymptomatic people are also getting tested, thus the surge,” he said, adding that around 1.5 lakh tests are being conducted each day.  

Dr Sudarshan, however, said all the reported cases are not symptomatic. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of the infected people are asymptomatic and only 5 to 6 per cent patients are hospitalised. There has been no requirement for Intensive Care Unit or Oxygen beds, unlike the second wave.

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“But the infections are reported as cases and that has become very scary… As of now, the numbers may be scary but the reality is not worrisome,” he said.  

This is why the third week into the third wave, the state has stopped weekend curfews. Asked about the matter Dr Sudarshan said mathematical models have indicated that weekend curfews have only “marginal benefits” as only 3,000 to 6,000 infections are reported in this period.  

“So after detailed deliberation, in which the Chief minister also participated, it was decided to discontinue the weekend curfews,” he said.

There is however a caveat. The authorities, he said, are keeping a close eye on the hospitalisations and if the numbers show an upward trajectory, the curbs will be “revisited and revised”.

At the current rate, math models show that the situation will stabilise this month and the numbers will plateau by the month-end.

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