In Karnataka, one of the worst-hit states in the second COVID-19 wave, capital Bengaluru used to make up the bulk of newly reported cases. Now, the IT hub accounts for less than half of the new cases as the virus makes its ingress into the rural areas.
A month ago, out of 15,785 new cases in the state, Bengaluru accounted for 9,618 or almost 61 per cent. Contrast it with Monday's figures, out of 38,603 new cases, 13,383 or 34.6 per cent were from Bengaluru.
Deputy Commissioners from Karnataka's most affected districts took part in a videoconference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning.
"The Prime Minister spoke to the DCs and said the focus is on the villages. PM Modi said the villages should use villagers' strength and people's representatives. The DCs, said the PM, should work as field commanders," Basavaraj Bommai, the state Home Minister, told NDTV after the meet.
The bulk of the new Covid cases are now being reported from the rural districts.
"Bengaluru is the only city in the state where we are seeing some downward trend for which we are happy because there is a lockdown here. This was the epicentre to begin with, one of the initial cities where the surge happened. Now it is moving towards rural areas and the distant districts. There will be a surge and again that will come down after a while. So we see 4 to 6 weeks difference between Bengaluru and the rest of Karnataka," Dr K Sudhakar, Karnataka Health Minister, said.
Due to the shift in cases, the state government has modified some of its strategies.
Home isolation for Covid positive patients will not be permitted in rural areas. Covid care centres are to be set up at the Primary Health Centre level and also at schools, hostels, marriage halls, as required.
House to house surveys are to be conducted with rapid antigen tests and phone triaging.
Every district hospital will permanently have 100 ICU beds
There will be an increase in oxygenated beds, oxygen generators and oxygen bottling plants across districts.
There is clearly an urgent need to ramp up health facilities in areas of the state that did not have the best of health services to start with - even in pre-Covid days.
Last week, the Prime Minister asked farmers not to take COVID-19 symptoms like cold and fever lightly. He urged them to be aware of this "invisible enemy" and take precautions and timely medication.
"I want to warn you about corona. This pandemic is spreading fast in rural villages. Every government is taking efforts to stop this. Awareness about this among rural people and cooperation of the panchayat institutes are equally important," said the Prime Minister while speaking at the release of the 8th installment of financial benefit under the PM-KISAN scheme via video conference.