Results of over 3,000 random samples tested in ten coronavirus-free districts in Karnataka so far have returned negative results, the government said on Thursday as one more death was reported and 18 people tested positive for the contagion elsewhere.
With the latest updates, the toll due to COVID-19 in the state has risen to 18 while the total cases to 445.
The day saw the partial lockdown relaxations, allowing certain activities including in IT and ITES sectors outside COVID-19 containment areas, coming into effect that also led to traffic snarls in parts of the city.
Joining states like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka has made it mandatory for pharmacies to maintain contact details of customers who purchase drugs used for influenza like illness, the government said.
Ten districts in the state so far continue to remain “corona free” and the government had asked the officials there to collect at least 100 samples each and screen them for the virus, Minister S Suresh Kumar, who is the spokesperson for COVID-19 in Karnataka said.
“So far in 10 districts, 4,631 samples have been collected. Among them positives are nil so far. Negatives are 3,146, results awaited are 1,485,” he told reporters here.
Late on Thursday, official sources said a 75-year old woman, who was among the 18 new COVID cases, died at a hospital in Mangaluru. Hailing from Bantwal, she had history of hypertension, stroke and pneumonia.
Earlier, the health department bulletin said ten of the new cases were from Bengaluru Urban district, as its total infections breached the century mark and stood at 101.
Fourteen patients were discharged after recovery on Thursday, taking the total number of people recovered to 145, the bulletin said adding there were 283 active cases in the state.
Responding to question, Additional Chief Secretary- Health and Family Welfare Department Jawaid Akhtar said about 62 per cent of the patients who have tested positive and undergoing treatment in the state were asymptomatic.
Among the 18 cases reported on Thursday, nine are contacts of a 54-year-old man, a labourer with a history of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), who tested positive on Wednesday, while the other is contact of another patient earlier tested positive, here.
Others are two each from Vijayapura, Hubballi in Dharwad district and Mandya; and one each from Bantwala in Dakshina Kannada district and Kalaburagi.
In all, 17 out of the 18 fresh cases, including 13 men, are contacts of patients already tested positive, while contact of a woman from Vijayapura was being traced.
Most number of cases have been reported in Bengaluru Urban district (101) followed by Mysuru (88) and Belagavi (43).
As many as 2,798 samples were tested on Thursday, taking the total to 32,122 so far and of this 28,174 reported negative with the day’s tally at 2,750.
A slum in Hongasandra municipal ward in the city has become a COVID-19 hotspot and has been completely sealed after some people contracted the coronavirus from a migrant labourer.
Kumar also said the state government has issued a notification making it mandatory for chemists and Druggists to maintain a list of customers who purchased certain drugs used for Influenza Like Illness or Severe Acute Respiratory Infection along with their contact details.
Earlier, governments in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha have issued such advisories to chemists in their states in a bid to ensure that people are not hiding symptoms of coronavirus.
As the relaxations in the lockdown came into effect, officials sources said Information Technology and IT Enabled Services (ITES) companies, that have been allowed to function, will work out the essential minimum staff requirement and mobilise them.
Besides these, certain construction activities, manufacturing of packaging materials, courier services, ice cream and juice shops, flour and dal mills, recharge facilities for pre-paid mobile connections, shops of educational books for students are among the services that figured in the relaxations announced.
All these activities will be permitted only outside COVID-19 containment zones, the government has made it clear.
As parts of the city witnessed large scale traffic movement, opposition Congress criticised the government, accusing it of proper planning.
“Announcement of partial relief to ease Lockdown by @BSYBJP has created chaos in #Bengaluru today. Massive traffic jams are reported across city with confusions & no proper guidelines. This shows lack of co-ordination in Governance with improper planning,” it tweeted.
Meanwhile, taking into consideration inconvenience faced by renal patients in view of 23 government hospitals offering dialysis services having been designated COVID-19 facilities, it has been decided to use 45 private hospitals for them as per the cost prescribed under the Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka scheme.
The government has also issued a circular for resuming immunization services at all health facilities except in containment zones and follow strict infection prevention and control measures and social distancing.