Centre’s zoning criteria ‘unscientific’ in Karnataka

Police personnel at Tipu Nagar, which had been sealed, on Mysuru Road in Bengaluru on April 19.

Police personnel at Tipu Nagar, which had been sealed, on Mysuru Road in Bengaluru on April 19.  

Classification of many districts with active cases as orange or green zones has come as a surprise

Although Karnataka has at least 12 districts with more than five active cases reported in the last 21 days, the classification of only three districts as red zones has surprised many.

On Sunday, following the Centre’s guidelines, the State government notified only Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural and Mysuru as red zones (which was 14 as on Friday) and re-classified many with active cases as orange and green zones.

Centre’s zoning criteria ‘unscientific’ in Karnataka

While State officials said the classification was based on the Centre’s criteria that looked at the number of positives in the last 21 days, doubling rate and preparedness, sources in the State’s COVID-19 taskforce termed the classification as ‘unscientific’ and ‘irrational’.

A source pointed out that there were several districts with a high number of cases and doubling rates higher than those in the three red zones. For instance, Davangere, where 22 new cases have been reported on a single day, falls under orange zone. The doubling rate here is the highest in the State. “This indicates that the State has no say in managing the pandemic in its jurisdiction,” said a member of the expert group set up to study the epidemiology of COVID-19 cases in the State. “We will take it up in the expert group meeting on Tuesday,” he said.

Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said the classification of zones has been made on the basis of four parameters - number of positive cases in the last 21 days, doubling rate, number of tests conducted and surveillance measures and preparedness. “As this is a dynamic situation, the Centre will modify the classification every week based on performance. It cannot be done on a day to day basis,” he said.

Munish Moudgil, director of the State COVID War Room, said the fact that some districts such as Davangere, Kalaburgi, Belagavi and Bagalkot have been classified as orange zones although they have a number of active cases has been brought to the notice of the Centre.

Replying to a query, Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar said, “This categorisation is done by MOHFW of Government of India based on previous data. It will be updated based on latest data every week.”

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 7:04:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/centres-zoning-criteria-unscientific/article31505690.ece

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