The BS Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government has directed its officials to increase RT-PCR testing – considered the gold standard for COVID-19 detection – across the state. The decision was taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on “effective testing, tracing, treatment and surveillance” to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control during a meeting with chief minister of seven states, including Karnataka, that have the highest coronavirus cases in the country.
According to the state government’s order, testing in Bengaluru – which accounts of at least 2 lakh of Karnataka’s 5.4 lakh Covid cases – must be increased to 38,000 a day, of which 32,000 would be RT-PCR tests and 6,000 would be rapid antigen tests, municipal body officials working in city’s Covid war room said today.
Untill now, an average 25,000 tests were done every day in Bengaluru, of which 70-75 per cent were RT-PCR.
“The Prime Minister had stressed that more RT-PCR tests should be done as they have higher accuracy. The idea is to save lives for which we need to identify this disease early on and thereby give correct treatment. Our line of treatment includes use of new drugs, use of telemedicine and tele-ICU monitoring through modern technology,” Dr K Sudhakar, Medical Education Minister in the BJP-led state government said.
State capital Bengaluru, second only to Delhi among cities worst hit by COVID-19, has a mortality rate of 1.34 per cent, down from 3.11 per cent in March end.
The country‘s Covid fatality rate is 1.59 per cent.
“We should use every measure possible to ensure the overall fatality rate drops to below 1 per cent; that is the target set by the Prime Minister,” Dr Sudhakar said, adding that Karnataka would take steps necessary to accomplish this.