Bengaluru, April 19 (IANS) Terming the outbreak and spread of coronavirus unprecedented, the Congress’ Karnataka unit on Sunday urged the Central government to declare the deadly infection a national calamity as it disrupted normal life, made thousands sick and claimed over 500 lives across the country.

“The state government should prevail upon the Centre to declare Covid-19 a national calamity, as it has affected millions of people as never before, causing untold hardships and a trail of death and disaster,” the party in a memorandum to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa here.

Extending support to the state government in combating the pandemic, state Congress President D.K. Shivakumar said with the number of cases increasing in the southern state by the day, there were no sign of the disease being under control.

“As Yediyurappa admitted that positive cases in the state were less because only about 500 people were tested earlier, but have been rising since 2,000 tests were being conducted since April 17, there is an urgent need to ramp up testing across the state before the extended lockdown ends on May 3,” he said.

Noting that shortage of rapid test kits were delaying more tests, the party’s memo said shortage of marks, glucose, sanitizers, personal protective equipment (PPE) was affecting doctors, nurses and para-medical staff.

“As against the requirement of 12 lakh kits, the state-run hospitals have only 2,27,000 of them, 5,46,721 N-19 masks, and 2,79,999 Hydroxychloroquine (tablets),” it said.

Testing is also being conducted only in 18 labs, with 9 in Bengaluru, including 3 state-run hospitals and two private.

Yediyurappa, however, told the Congress delegation that 12,500 rapid test kits were on way to the state from China through the Centre.

Of the 17,594 tested across the southern state to date, only 390 were positive, while the remaining recorded negative, although 16 of them have died and 111 discharged.

–IANS

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