June 29, 2021 7:42:10 pm
After the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, preparations for an anticipated third wave of Covid-19 in Bengaluru are underway. A number of resident welfare associations (RWAs) and apartment resident groups in the Karnataka capital have chosen to continue vigil, with the municipal body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), also in constant touch with key stakeholders to decentralise containment efforts.
According to Vikram Rai, the general secretary of the Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), most apartments in the city have adopted a cautious approach towards opening up facilities like gyms, swimming pools, sports facilities and play areas even after the state government has revised coronavirus norms beginning June 21.
“We have chosen to continue being watchful of the situation. We continue to spread general awareness on the need to follow Covid norms to mitigate any further spread of the pandemic, be it for an anticipated third wave as well,” Rai told Indianexpress.com
Rai said that online interactions with experts and BBMP officers have been held over the past few weeks with a focus on how to secure members, especially children, residing in apartment complexes. “While gyms can be operated to an extent with tight precautions, with adults being main users, opening up sports facilities and courts was not recommended as it might congregate children. Pediatricians and other health experts have also advised keeping children engaged in some in-house activity rather than allowing them to venture out unnecessarily,” he said.
Rai added that the possibility and feasibility of holding a general flu vaccination drive for children were also being discussed with experts at present.
Meanwhile, Nagaraj Rao, a resident of Salarpuria Splendor located off HAL Old Airport Road, said members of the apartment are being constantly reminded not to become complacent. “We have been reminding our residents to make Covid-appropriate behaviour an integral part of their lifestyle. Measures like restricting visitors and minimising doorstep delivery of items are still being followed,” he said.
Rao added that some apartments, including his, had facilitated the delivery of fruits and vegetables from the state-run Horticultural Producers Co-operative Marketing and Processing Society Limited (HOPCOMS) during the lockdown. “The pace of delivery has dropped since the unlocking but we are continuing this to ensure residents don’t crowd markets which are high-risk areas. Various staff who frequent our homes — including cooks, househelps, housekeepers, workers helping in maintenance — and their immediate families were included in our vaccination camps as another containment measure,” he said.
At the same time, a senior BBMP official said, “RWAs and members of apartment complexes have always assisted us to step up surveillance and now for vaccination. As we intensify our containment measures in the wake of more Delta Plus variant cases being identified in several cities, it is important to ensure those testing positive stays indoors and adhere strictly to all quarantine rules. Hence, our teams will coordinate with representatives of RWAs and apartment groups.
Meanwhile, a member of an RWA in south Bengaluru alleged that the civic body was “transferring the burden” of Covid surveillance on residents associations due to staff shortage in BBMP for such duties. “Even at a time when contact tracing and door-to-door surveys had to be intensified during the second wave, the presence of BBMP staff in our area was insufficient. Inspections made by health teams should be enhanced at least now to mitigate adverse effects of a possible third wave,” the member highlighted.
However, BBMP officials denied such allegations explaining that the civic body was instead strengthening their existing teams of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs). “While another 1300 ASHAs would be deployed in the city, there are plans to rope in another 550 ANMs to these teams. We had already deployed 300 each ASHAs and ANMs for duties to date,” the officer said.
The officer added that a demand for an appointment of 650 more joint health inspectors was also placed before their higher-ups and the Department of Health and Family Welfare.
BBMP aims to bridge vaccination gaps by conducting door-to-door survey
In a bid to expand the coverage of vaccination across all areas of the Karnataka capital, BBMP has commenced a door-to-door survey to identify those who are yet to get a dose of Covid vaccine and to ascertain the reasons behind the same.
According to BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, officials are preparing a list of such persons and the areas or localities where they live. “The reasons for not getting vaccinated could be the lack of a primary health centre in their locality where access to vaccination is possible only through BBMP’s outreach. Special vaccination camps will be organised in such uncovered pockets,” he said.
As per BBMP statistics, nearly 60 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Bengaluru to date. This amounts to nearly 30 per cent of the total 2.2 crore doses administered to people across the state since January 16.
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