Bengaluru: The B.S.Yediyurappa-led state government is attempting to operationalise around 8,000 polling booths in Bengaluru as part of its hyperlocal strategy to get a grip on the rapidly spiralling Covid-19 crisis in India’s technology capital.
The attempt is to carry out door-to-door surveys, identifying and isolating the vulnerable, like people with ILI, SARI, and fast-tracking contact tracing, which the administration hopes will give it some control over the situation.
“This will enable to protect the most vulnerable from the infection and will also help to trace the contact. Booth level task force committees will be utilised to coordinate ferrying symptomatic patients to Covid Care Centres,” medical education minister Sudhakar said in a statement. The hyperlocal strategy comes at a time when Bengaluru, like several other big cities in India, appears to have lost control over the virus crisis and forcing authorities to relapse into a seven-day lockdown for the lack of a better strategy after having lost out on time to create additional infrastructure to deal with the surge in cases.
Bengaluru urban and rural will be under lockdown for a week starting 8 pm on Tuesday.
Bengaluru reported a record 47 fatalities and 1,315 new covid-19 cases on Monday, which takes the death toll in the city to 322 and number of active cases to 15,052, according to the daily bulletin of the state health department.
More worrying is the fact that the source of infection for almost every single case reported in Bengaluru over the last week or so remains unknown. The spike in Bengaluru has pushed up the overall tally of the entire state to 41,581 of which 25,572 are active. Karnataka has almost breached the 25,000-mark in active cases number well ahead of its own projections slated for mid-August.
The state also reported a record 73 deaths on Monday. Sudhakar said that the health department will do an audit on the death as the government believes that over 60-70% of those who died were due to other causes even though they tested positive for Covid-19.
The lack of contact tracing, delay in revealing test results and piling up of backlogs as well as the totally chaotic system, which has deprived many in need of hospital beds, are some of the few challenges Bengaluru faces along with the surge in cases. These factors have led to the city losing significant ground it gained in May in its battle against the virus.
Sudhakar said that criminal action will be initiated against the owners and management of private hospitals who deny admission. He said that there were over 5,000 hospital beds available in the Bengaluru region alone of which around 3000 were vacant. He said that the new centralised system would iron out “initial hiccups” in bed allotment.
He also said that additional staff, including the participation of citizens and other resident welfare associations, will be provided for contact tracing that will compliment the over-stretched personnel carrying out these duties for over four months.
The growing number of containment zones in the city has added its own set of challenges, including restricting movement, collection of bio-hazardous waste and monitoring the large number of cases with limited–if not inadequate–resources.