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Strict rules being imposed to contain second wave of COVID, says Dr K Sudhakar


Strict restrictions are being imposed to contain the second wave of COVID-19, but the situation still doesn't warrant semi-lockdown or full-fledged lockdown, said Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Monday.

Speaking to the media, he said that the government is strictly screening the incoming travellers from high caseload states of Maharashtra and Kerala. If there is no negative RT-PCR test, they are subjected to a test at the border. Increasing penalty for not wearing a mask is also being discussed. More people should come forward to get the vaccine, said the Minister.

"Home Ministry's support is required for strict screening at borders. The CM has already conducted the meeting in this regard. Semi-lockdown or lockdown is not considered for now. We need to learn from past mistakes," said the Minister.

At weddings and other functions, people should wear a mask, follow social distance and ensure the restriction on the number of people is not violated. If the cases increase a decision will be taken regarding educational institutions after discussing with the CM, Dr Sudhakar stated.

"Three COVID Care Centres will be operational in Bengaluru this week. We can contain second wave if people co-operate," the Minister added.

#COVID19 #KSudhakar

Nandi Hills will be developed as International tourist place, says Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister


Popular Karnataka located hill station Nandi Hills in Chikkaballapur will be developed as an international tourist destination, Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar who is also district in-charge Minister said on Thursday.

He was speaking to the media in Chikballapur after inspecting the ongoing works at Nandi Hills.

"Nandi Hills and surrounding places are very attractive. Along with beautiful Flora and Fauna Nandi Hills also has a historical and spiritual significance. This has all the qualities to be developed as an international tourist destination. The government has already sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the purpose," said the Minister.

There was a popular demand from the public for a ropeway since 15 years. Though an international agency earlier agreed for the project, later it was dropped. Now the dream is becoming reality. More than 10-acre land will be allotted in the foothills to convert as a parking area. The work will be completed in 3-4 months, said Dr Sudhakar.

"Nandi Hills is 30 km away from Bengaluru International airport. People can reach here in just 1 hour from Bengaluru. We are making efforts to develop this area. Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa has extended full co-operation in this regard, tender will be called soon to allocate the work order," said the Minister.

Trekking trials to 5 hills surrounding the Nandi Hills, eco-tourism, conservation of archaeological monuments, beautification, infrastructure development etc will be done in the coming days. CM will give priority for tourism sector in the coming budget, he added. He also said that it is decided to completely ban use of plastic in the Nandi Hills.

#Karnataka #KSudhakar #NandiHills

Marshalls to be deployed in wedding halls in Karnataka


Marshalls will be deployed in marriage halls to ensure Covid guidelines are followed, Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said today. He was speaking to the media in Bengaluru after a video conference with all District Administrations.

"People attending large gatherings are not following the guidelines. In fact, people urged me to remove my face mask when I attended a function. Therefore, it is necessary to deploy a Marshall to ensure the Covid guidelines are followed. Not more than 500 people are allowed in a gathering and a face mask is compulsory for all. Catering service providers will also be instructed to get tested before they render service," the Minister said. 

"Meetings and gatherings are happening in violation of the Covid guidelines. We may have to enforce strict guidelines if cases are increased. We don't want a situation like Maharashtra where lockdown has been reimposed in certain areas," Dr Sudhakar said.

"More than 4.24 lakh health department employees and 1.20 lakh front line warriors have been administered the first dose of the Covid vaccine. We are cleaning up registration data by eliminating duplicate entries. We have a target of 80 per cent and 90 per cent coverage for Health dept staff and front line warriors respectively by the end of this month. All officials have been requested to get the dose," the Minister said.

He also said that Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa himself is monitoring the vaccination drive and will be conducting a video conference with officials this weekend. "Bengaluru is lagging in vaccination. Bagalakote, Bengaluru, Dharawada have registered less than 50 per cent coverage. Chikkaballapura (79 per cent), Tumkur (78 per cent), Uttara Kannada (73 per cent), Gadag (71 per cent), Chikkamagalur (70 per cent) and Chamarajnagar (70 per cent). Gadag (84 per cent) and Tumkur (71 per cent) are ahead in covering front line warriors. Bagalkot (23 per cent), Bengaluru Urban (26 per cent) and Chamrajanagar (27 per cent) are lagging behind and it is instructed to all districts to achieve 80 per cent target, the Minister added.

*Other points made by the Minister*

•    No restrictions to travel to Maharashtra and Kerala, but the RTPCR test report is compulsory while entering the state.

•    Schools are being open gradually and no increase in cases reported so far.

•    Govt taking measures to prevent second possible Covid wave in the state, centre will soon decide on vaccinating general public from March.

#COVID19 #KSudhakar

Cinema halls in Karnataka to operate with 100 per cent capacity on trail basis

Considering the hardships faced by sandalwood cinema artists, producers and workers it has been decided to allow cinema halls to fill up to 100 per cent of their capacity for 4 weeks on a trial basis, said Karnataka Health & Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar. 

Speaking to the media in Bengaluru yesterday after a meeting with Chairman of Film chamber, other office bearers and representatives from Film Industry, Dr Sudhakar said that the meeting was held on the instructions of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. As per technical advisory committee recommendations, the Health Department had earlier allowed 50 per cent seatings in cinema halls. Though the centre has cleared for 100 per cent seatings in cinema halls, the decision was left to the discretion of state governments depending on the situation in each state, the Minister added.

Strict guidelines will be released tomorrow. Owners of cinema halls should adhere to these guidelines and people should strictly follow them. If any cases of COVID-19 is detected, the decision govt will have to inevitably revoke the decision, the minister cautioned.

Actor Shivaraj Kumar, Minister C C Patil, Members of Technical Advisory Committee were present during the meeting.

#Karnataka #KSudhakar

1.38 lakh people have been administered first dose of vaccine in Karnataka


As many as 1,38,656 people have been inoculated in the state, side effect has appeared in some, but there is no causality, said Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar. He was speaking to the media in Bengaluru on Friday.

Covi-shield has been administered to 1,36,882 and Covaxin to 1,774 people. 2-3.5 per cent people have developed some sort of side effect. As many as 8,47,908 lakh people have registered for vaccination in the first phase. Out of which 3,27,201 are government health warriors and 4,45,389 are private health warriors. Today we will be receiving another 1,46,240 doses of Covaxin, said the Minister.

"Some people have hesitations to take vaccine due to rumours, vaccine will keep the disease away. We have a big challenge of vaccinating 1.5 crore to 2 crore people in the state," said Dr Sudhakar.

Clarifying on cabinet rejig, Dr Sudhakar said that the matter will be discussed with CM. "Earlier, it was difficult to manage the pandemic as Health and Medical Education departments were handled by different ministers. Covid was controlled well after merging both Health and Medical Education departments. We have to provide vaccination to more people with the coordination of both the departments. Administrative issues should not be a hurdle in this world's largest vaccination drive. Therefore, I will request the CM to allocate both the departments to a single person," said the Minister.

"We are honestly working to strengthen CM. It was a political suicidal attempt to resign from a party and join BJP. I won the Chikkaballapur seat increasing the vote share of the party from 3 per cent to a victory margin of 35,000 votes. Similarly, MTB Nagaraj was a minister who resigned having faith on me. Its my duty to protect all my colleagues said Dr Sudhakar. It’s the prerogative of the CM to allocate the Ministry. Being a member of the cabinet I am working to bring good name for the government and the party," he added. Justifying his statement, Dr Sudhakar said that portfolio should have been allocated by considering the experts opinion and the ongoing vaccination drive, same will be conveyed to CM.

Referring to the recent incident in Shivamogga, the Minister said, "Gelatin is being used excessively in mining industry. This is causing cracking of walls in the nearby houses. Mining department officials are well aware of it. Police should investigate carefully and take action against the defaulters. Innocent people should not be victims of such acts."

Clarifying the Tumkur incident, Dr Sudhakar said that the Doctor in Tumkur has already taken the vaccine and when asked for a photograph later, she posed for it and there is no need of exaggerating the issue.

#COVID19 #Karnataka #KSudhakar

Refrain from unwarranted criticism which discredits our scientists, Karnataka Health Minister


Amidst the controversy regarding the approval of two indigenous COVID-19 vaccines, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar has urged people to refrain from unwarranted criticism which will discredit the hard work of our scientists.

The approval of COVID-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' marks a significant milestone in indigenous novel vaccinology in India. Being one of the largest exporter of vaccines, the world is looking up to us in the common fight against this global pandemic. Bharat Biotech is a reputed company which has the credibility and experience of developing 16 vaccines including for influenza H1N1, Rotavirus, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies, Chikungunya, Zika and the world's first tetanus-toxoid conjugated vaccine for Typhoid, said Dr Sudhakar in a series of tweets.

While appealing to refrain from unwarranted criticism on vaccines, the Minister said that hailing from a humble background, Bharat Biotech's founder and Chairman Dr Krishna Ella is a passionate professional with the credibility of delivering over 4 billion vaccine doses to underprivileged people in more than 150 developing countries through UNICEF and other channels. Covaxin's phase-3 clinical trial involves 24,000 volunteers and it's data will be available soon. "I humbly appeal to everyone, not as a Health Minister but as a fellow medical professional, to refrain from unwarranted criticism which discredits the hard work of our scientists," said the Minister.

New variant found in 11 people

Speaking to the media, Dr Sudhakar clarified that 37 people out of 75 UK returnees have been tested positive. Only 11 among them are confirmed for new mutant virus. There is no increase in the number of infectants, he said. "Instructions have been passed to trace out primary contacts of these passengers," he added.

Responding on school teachers being tested positive he said, there is no official confirmation of any teachers or students being tested positive for COVID-19. Let us not blow the issue out of proportion and create unnecessary panic, he added.

#COVID19 #Karnataka #KSudhakar

Karnataka ready for Vaccine Distribution, says Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar


A dry run is being carried out in 5 districts across Karnataka for COVID-19 vaccination.

The vaccination dry run has helped to train the staff. It is expected that the vaccine may be available in January itself and this dry run will help us implement the vaccination drive later, said Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar.

Dr K Sudhakar visited the model vaccination centre in Yelahanka General Hospital and inspected the dry run yesterday.

Speaking to the media, the Minister said 25 people were administered vaccine (mock) in the dry run. Regular meetings have been conducted with the hospitals to prepare for the vaccination drive.

The Union Health Minister has said that all corona warriors will be administered the vaccine in the first phase free of cost. "Centre will issue detailed guidelines and SOPs for vaccination. All necessary infrastructure like cold storage, logistics, manpower is being arranged. We will also use the existing infrastructure and centre will augment the additional infrastructure," he added.

"Ten UK returnees in the state have been detected with the new strain of coronavirus. All of them are being treated and isolated in Government hospitals. The infection is not severe in any of them. More than 12 lakh people have recovered in the state from COVID-19 so far," the Minister said.

#COVID19 #Karnataka #KSudhakar

Karnataka Health Minister holds first meeting with Vision Group to transform healthcare in state


Vision Group has been directed to prepare a report on comprehensive development in the Health sector of Karnataka. The report is likely to be finalized in six months, said Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar.

Speaking to the media after concluding the first meeting with the members of the mission group today, Minister Sudhakar said that government is working towards comprehensive transformation in the health sector. Currently, National Health policy 2017 is in place and we are committed to providing quality health care for the people of Karnataka. The roadmap to achieve this have been discussed in the meeting. 

Speaking on the current health care scenario in the state, Dr Sudhakar said, "Presently health care is divided into three parts viz, Primary, community and district level health services. There are medical colleges available and these services need to be integrated to provide quality health care to the public. We also need to focus on prevention. Preventive measures like regular blood check-up for the people aged above 35 years, treating the non-communicable diseases at the earlier stages and so on have been discussed in the meeting. Arogya Karnataka will include all these points and the report will be ready in six months."

Sub-committees have been formed including specialists in each committee to prepare a comprehensive report. Both Allopathy and Ayush doctors are part of the group. The final report will be submitted to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, said Dr Sudhakar.

Quality cell:-

*Minister also said that a quality cell will be established in each hospital to ensure delivery of quality health care services to the patients*

Other Points made by the Minister:-

• It was decided to request the Union Government to provide human resource as well along with funds to establish new medical colleges and hospitals.

• There are opinions to establish Trauma centres at every 50 kms or in every district. This will save accident victims.

• Telemedicine to protect children's health, digital registration system and ambulance will also be provided in PHCs

• Accountability will ensure quality. Officials will be made accountable to ensure cleanliness and proper treatment. 

Suggestions made by the experts:-

• Quality of Health care to be maintained as per UN standards.

• Betterment of infrastructure and increasing staff at government hospitals

• Doctors and nurses to be specially trained to handle emergencies at primary levels.

• Opening of Ayush centres at all PHCs

• Adopt Tele-ICU model at each hospital to obtain specialist advice.

• Branding government medical colleges.

• PPP model to render quality health services in government hospitals.

• Establishment of IMS and KMS cadre in the lines of IAS and KAS.

• Maintaining Health register to keep track of the medical records of the individuals.

• Trauma centres at every 50 KMs in highways to cater for accident victims.

• Use of Information Technology to maintain data.

• Specialised staff for geriatric care.

• Utilisation of service of retired senior doctors for telemedicine.

• Increase awareness of organ donation and transplant.

• Strengthen ICU in Govt Hospitals.

• Leverage Artificial Intelligence and Robotics technology.

• Awareness about early diagnosis and preventive measures.

#VisionGroup #Karnataka #KSudhakar

Sweet pill for Karnataka's doctors

In a sweet pill to medical professionals, the Karnataka Government has increased the special allowances of specialist doctors, medical officers and dentists working under the state health department effective from September 1, 2020.

The decision came after prompt and timely response by the Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar to a representation from these professionals.

The special allowance was revised in 2015 earlier. The special allowance for MBBS/BDS grads with 0-6 years experience has been increased from Rs 21,000 to Rs 30,500. Allowance for those with PG degree/Diploma has been raised from Rs 42,600 to Rs 55,500. Allowance of super specialty doctors has been increased from 50,800 to Rs 64,500.

Details of increased special allowance for those with 6-13 years of experience are as follows: 

MBBS/BDS – Rs 22,000 to Rs 37,500
PG/Diploma grads – Rs 43,700 to Rs 64,500
Super Specialty doctors – Rs 52,100 to Rs 73,500

Details of increased special allowance for those with 13-20 years of experience are as follows: 

MBBS/BDS – Rs 23,000 to Rs 44,500
PG/Diploma grads – Rs 44,800 to Rs 73,500
Super Specialty doctors – Rs 58,400 to Rs 83,500

Details of increased special allowance for those with more than 25 years of experience are as follows: 

MBBS/BDS – Rs 23,000 to Rs 60,500
PG/Diploma grads – Rs 44,800 to Rs 93,500
Super Specialty doctors – Rs 58,400 to Rs 1,03,500

Karnataka Medical Officers Association had submitted a memorandum to revise special allowance as per CGHC model. Minister K Sudhakar held a meeting with department officials to discuss the demands of the doctors and agreed to take up their demand with finance department. 

In a tweet, Dr Sudhakar said that in recognition of the service of doctors during the pandemic and to encourage young doctors to take up rural service in the future, the special allowances of specialist doctors, general duty doctors and dental doctors serving under Health and Family Welfare department have been revised effective from 1st September 2020.

#Karnataka #KSudhakar

29,451 vaccine distribution centres identified in Karnataka: Dr K Sudhakar

The State of Karnataka has initiated necessary action for COVID-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration as per the Government of India's advice. The State Task Force has also met and preparations are being made for the vaccine storage and delivery, Health and Medical Education Minister Dr Sudhakar said.

Speaking on the measures initiated for management of vaccine, Dr Sudhakar said that government has identified 29,451 session sites (vaccination sites) and 10,008 vaccinators as per the norms of the Universal Immunization Programme. Health Care Workers data has already been compiled for all the government facilities.  About 80% of the private health facilities have also shared their data. Compilation of data for the remaining 20% of private facilities is likely to be completed in a week's time, he said.

No dearth of Cold Storage Facility in the state

Explaining the storage facilities in the state, the Minister said that Karnataka State has around 2,855 cold chain points for storage and distribution of vaccines. With a view to having a better supply chain network and distribution of vaccines in a timely manner, 3 new regional vaccine stores – Bengaluru Urban, Shivamogga and Bellary have been proposed. These newly proposed Regional Vaccine Stores will also require additional Walk-in-Coolers and Walk-in-Freezers to be supplied, Dr Sudhakar added.

The Minister also said that assessment of the Vaccine Stores has been completed. The State has 10 Walk-in-Coolers and 4 Walk-in-Freezers, Dr Sudhakar said.

On dry storage facility, Dr Sudhakar said that the state needs to have the dry storage space assessment for the vaccine programme. Government of India has already allocated certain Deep Freezers and Ice Lined Refrigerators as per the Universal Immunization Programme norms. "We have also informed the GOI for our additional requirements," he said.

Regarding usage of animal husbandry department's facilities, the minister said that in order to have adequate capacity the cold storage facilities under the Animal Husbandry Department are also being compiled. Further, the spare cold storage facilities available with private hospitals especially the chain hospital is also being assessed.

#Karnataka #KSudhakar