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Bengaluru: BBMP steps back to basics to contain possible Covid surge

The move comes in the wake of Bengaluru reporting above 400 cases daily since July 29. The city has recorded 426, 450, and 409 cases on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 2, 2021 2:41:34 pm
A health worker collects samples of passengers for Covid-19 test at city railway station during Covid-induced lockdown in Bengaluru. (PTI/File)

With new Covid-19 cases seeing a gradual uptick again in the Karnataka capital after nearly two months, the local civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has chosen to get back to the basics of containing the pandemic, with a focus on enhanced testing and tracing.

The move comes in the wake of Bengaluru reporting above 400 cases daily since July 29. The city has recorded 426, 450, and 409 cases on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively, as per the statistics issued by the Health Department.

In anticipation of the rise in cases, BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta had instructed officials to take precautionary measures and to intensify the Covid-19 testing and contact tracing process in areas reporting more cases in the city. “Officials have been asked to carry out testing, tracing, and vaccination in an enhanced manner at clusters with more infection,” he said.

Based on his directions, Special Commissioner (Health) D Randeep and various teams have been visiting clusters and micro containment zones to ensure contacts are being tested and others in such zones are vaccinated in masses.

For instance, a BBMP official told indianexpress.com, “Our teams have been on high alert after 18 cases were reported from a block of Temple Bells, an apartment located in Yeshwantpur. Swabs were collected from people, including domestic help and members of the housekeeping staff, and those with proximity to the patients. Simultaneously, all others who were eligible for vaccination were administered with the vaccines as well.” The official added that warning stickers were also being placed on the doors of the patients under home isolation.

Meanwhile, statistics issued by the BBMP Covid-19 war room indicated that Begur (Ward 192) reported over 100 new cases in the last ten days. As many as nine other wards — Bellandur, RR Nagar, Sanjaynagar, Varthur, Hagadur, Kadugodi, Hoodi, Basavanapura, Horamavu — have reported between 50 to 100 cases during the same time.

With apartment complexes in these areas continuing to be on high alert, Vikram Rai, General Secretary of the Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), said that official communication from the local body to apartments in the last few days raised the expectation of being prepared for an anticipated third wave. “Our member apartments (over 1,000) are continuing to be cautious. We have been told that a meeting with the officials will be held soon to remotivate residents to continue taking necessary precautions. This will also clear the air on the real situation at present with regard to the pandemic around us,” he said.

However, Rai pointed out that the demand for vaccines is expected to be up for people aged 18 to 44 later this month. “While most from this age group got their first jabs by the end of May or early June, they will be due for the second dose during the second half of August. The same will be applicable to staffers appointed within apartments for various roles as well, as they were part of the priority groups identified by the government then,” he said. Rai added that BAF was hopeful on the availability of vaccines to ensure an added layer of protection to their residents before the third wake strikes.

Meanwhile, BBMP has made physical triage mandatory for anyone who tests positive, barring no exceptions.

This comes in the wake of a few Covid-19 patients denying physical triage in the last few weeks, officials indicated. According to BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, action will be initiated under Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Ordinance (2020) and Disaster Management Act (2005). An order mentioning the same was also issued on Sunday.

Earlier, towards the end of the second wave, the local body had established physical triage centres at the assembly constituency level, and mobile triage units were set up at the ward level and primary health centre level in a bid to facilitate timely physical triage.

In yet another significant step taken by BBMP to ensure surveillance of the cases, all labs and private hospitals in the city have been directed to upload Covid-19 test results on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) portal without fail.

It was observed that some labs and hospitals in the Karnataka capital were informing the patients directly of the results, failing to keep the authorities in the loop.

“Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic and it is mandatory for all private establishments managing, testing, and/or treating Covid positives to report them to the BBMP as well. This will ensure timely and effective containment and surveillance,” the BBMP chief reminded.

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