BENGALURU: With the threat of the BF.7 variant of the coronavirus looming, doctors in the city have urged citizens to wear masks and maintain social distance in crowded places. They have also cautioned that another two weeks are important to understand how the variant behaves.
Even though the state government said the positivity rate is under control, the Health Department is monitoring four districts which have a positivity rate that is close to 1 per cent. In two districts, the positivity rate has crossed more than 1 per cent. In eight districts, the positivity rate is within 1 per cent. The positivity rate is zero in the remaining 20 districts.
The Health Department has raised concern about an increase in the positivity rate as tourists visit from many places. Bengaluru Urban (1.78 percent), Ramanagara (1.22 percent), Kodagu (0.93 percent) and Mysuru (0.79 percent) have the highest positivity rates. Uttara Kannada has a positivity rate of 0.40 per cent, Hassan has 0.36 per cent, Kolar 0.25 per cent, Chikkaballapur 0.11 percent, Dakshina Kannada 0.10 per cent, and Belagavi has a positivity rate of 0.4 per cent.
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) too has suggested that people wear masks, maintain social distancing and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. If there is a high positivity rate, then Level 2 guidelines will be implemented. The guidelines are suggested after analysing the prevailing situation. International travellers are monitored closely and citizens of Bengaluru have been advised to remain on guard.
“Masks have protected people from Covid during all the waves. Everyone should wear a mask for the next two to three months. People should follow state guidelines and vaccination is important. The central and state governments have started to take precautionary measures in the beginning itself. Vaccines are important for immunising the body. For the past eight months, Covid cases have been reduced. Now that it has started to rise in China, all the other countries need to be careful. People should avoid crowded places. The health care system should not be overwhelmed and hospital beds should be available”, said Dr Satyanarayan of Manipal Hospital.
What is Covid BF.7 variant?
The BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron BA.5 variant. It has a higher capacity to cause re-infection and can cause re-infection in vaccinated individuals too. So far, the spread of the new strain is under control.
What are the symptoms of the Covid BF.7 variant?
The new variant presents symptoms similar to upper respiratory infection including fever, sore throat, cough, headache, runny nose. The new variant has been identified in China, USA, Belgium, France and Denmark.
Meanwhile, the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) has asked the state government to clear pending dues from the previous waves. The association demanded the state government clear Rs 150 crore in hospital bills for beds reserved in private hospitals under government quota.
The financial situation of some nursing homes has been severely affected due to pending hospital bills. During the third wave, private hospitals gave Covid-19 treatment upon instruction from the government. The hospitals will reserve beds only after the pending dues are cleared, the association said.