Workers’ protest partially hits COVID-19 reporting

Over 30,000 employees abstained from work over pay parity and incentives

Published - September 24, 2020 10:00 pm IST

The indefinite strike by Karnataka State Health and Medical Education Department Contractual Employees’ Forum and Karnataka AIDS Prevention Society Contract Workers’ Association has partially hit COVID-19 surveillance, testing and reporting in the State.

Over 30,000 employees affiliated to these associations abstained from work starting Thursday demanding pay parity and COVID-19 incentives. While the government has announced COVID-19 incentives for doctors and paramedical staff working under the National Health Mission, it has excluded a majority of staffers on COVID-19 duty.

Protesting this disparity, NHM staffers deployed at Primary Health Centres, taluk and district hospitals apart from COVID-19 Care Centres did not report for work on Thursday.

The protest’s impact was also visible in the COVID-19 health bulletin issued by the Health Department on Thursday. The State reported 7,710 new cases and 65 deaths. Although this is marginally higher than that reported on Wednesday, the numbers are lower than average, which is attributed to the protest.

The total cases went up to 5,48,557 and the toll rose to 8,331. This is apart from 19 non-COVID-19 deaths. With 6,748 discharges, the total recoveries rose to 4,44,658. Of the remaining 95,549 active cases, 827 patients are being monitored in ICUs of various hospitals.

The number of tests continued to remain lesser that the average 75,000 per day. Only 64,164 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, including 23,232 rapid antigen tests. Bengaluru Urban saw a record 4,192 cases, the highest single-day spike so far.

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