The Karnataka government is contemplating a partial lockdown of Bengaluru in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases, even as the civic body on Wednesday ordered sealing of the old City Market area after 20 fresh cases were reported there.
Forty-one out of Bengaluru’s 198 wards may have to be sealed, which would amount to a partial lockdown, sources said.
With Class 10 Board exams scheduled from June 25 to July 8, a full lockdown is not being considered, city officials said.
The doubling rate of the infection in Bengaluru is eight days, as against 18 days for Karnataka and 19 for the country.
Compared to 358 confirmed cases reported in Bengaluru between March 8 and May 31, as many as 1,320 positive cases have been reported since June 1. The presence of 1,124 active cases in the city has put healthcare services on the edge, especially after several healthcare and police personnel were reported infected by the virus across the city.
Infections among staff at two key testing laboratories in Bengaluru has also put them out of action, thereby increasing pressure on other city labs.
Bengaluru had reported 10 deaths due to Covid-19 up to May 31; there have been 68 deaths since June 1. Case fatality rate for the city is currently 6.9 per cent among Covid-19 patients, compared to 1.6 per cent for Karnataka, which has reported 164 coronavirus deaths in 10,118 cases so far.
With all government hospitals in Bengaluru full, the authorities are scrambling to create separate facilities for nearly 60 per cent patients who are asymptomatic but hospitalised. The government has now opened up Covid-19 treatment at private hospitals.
Visits to big government hospitals in Bengaluru — Victoria Hospital, Bowring Hospital, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest DIseases, C V Raman Nagar General Hospital, K C General Hospital, Jayanagar General Hospital — which have around 1,000 Covid-19 beds between them, revealed that all beds are full. With only around 100 ICU beds available in these hospitals for coronavirus, and 63 of them in use as of Wednesday, there is concern in the event of a spike in ICU cases.
“There are no beds in our facility. The 100 isolation beds and four ICU beds kept aside for Covid-19 patients are full,” a senior doctor at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases said.
The government on Wednesday designated an ESI Hospital in east Bengaluru as a dedicated Covid-19 hospital for policemen and stated that asymptomatic police personnel will be admitted on a dedicated floor at a Covid care centre being prepared at Art of Living ashram.
“We have 121 policemen in quarantine in our division alone. Marathahalli police station is shut. Resources are getting stretched,” DCP, Whitefield region, M N Anucheth, who is part of a task force to move Covid-19 patients to care facilities, said.
Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar held a meeting on Wednesday for partnerships with private hospitals and hotels to accommodate asymptomatic patients. “This PPP model will free up more beds in medical facilities for symptomatic and critical patients, while ensuring that 80% asymptomatic patients are kept isolated, reducing the risk of transmission,” the Health Department said.
Former CM H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday requested a 20-day lockdown in the city to control the spread of coronavirus.
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