BENGALURU: The local administration in Bengaluru is faced with the daunting task of overhauling the city’s pandemic response system in a week’s time amid the relentless surge in new coronavirus cases.
Bengaluru goes into a seven-day total lockdown from tonight.
Challenges include large backlogs of contact tracing, testing, disconcerted efforts between various teams, getting private healthcare players to pitch in the fight as well as disproving growing allegations of irregularities.
Given the situation, the government has fallen back upon the lockdown strategy that experts said will only postpone the spread.
“Even though Bengaluru has a reasonably good health infrastructure, probably the government felt that it if the numbers go up the same rate, it may overwhelm the system,” said Dr H.Sudarshan Ballal, chairman of Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt Ltd and member of the expert committee set up by the government to aid the battle against covid-19.
Bengaluru accounts for 60% of all active cases in Karnataka, with tally at 15,052 compared to the state’s total count of 24,572 as on Monday.
The problem is compounded by the fact that residents justifiably angry at the healthcare system and another lockdown which will lead to more economic uncertainty.
“In my view, the lockdown has to be for a longer period of time,” said Dr Giridhara. R. Babu of Public Health Foundation of India.
Ballal also said that contact tracing is important but is a Herculean task given the surge in cases.
The source of infection in the thousands of cases reported from Bengaluru in the last two weeks remain unknown and putting all resources to trace contacts is a “luxury”, he added.
The hyperlocal strategy to reverse isolate some of the most vulnerable sections of people is a priority that the district administration is pursuing. Disregard for social distancing in public places and the poor quality of infrastructure, hardships to get treatment in hospitals are other challenges.
But the biggest may well be the stigma surrounding the disease that stops people from disclosing details to health authorities.