As Karnataka joins four other States in making up for 80% of new infections in India, Bengaluru is beginning to witness a repeat of scenes from last year when COVID-19 was on a steady rise.
In the last 10 days, 10 wards in particular reported the most number of cases: Arakere, Begur, HSR Layout, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bellandur, Shantalanagar, Hagadur, Doddanekundi, Banaswadi and New Thippasandra.
However, the BBMP seems to have no specific plans for these wards. BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said the same plan put in place for other wards will be applicable to these as well. “We are focussing on more testing and more vaccination,” he said.
Though the city has been the primary contributor to the caseload throughout the pandemic, the marked increase in the last few days is raising concerns. On Saturday, 1,186 new positive cases were reported in Bengaluru Urban, along with five new deaths. According to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) war room data for Friday, there were 1,037 new cases.
Recently, the BBMP had, after a detailed analysis on the recent surge in positive cases, said approximately 70% of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 had a travel history, while others contracted the virus when they attended weddings and social gatherings, visited places of worship or were in common areas in apartment complexes. The civic body had also said that many cases are being reported from apartments and multi-dwelling units.
Giridhar R. Babu, Professor of Epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India, said the BBMP Commissioner has already addressed strategies needed to tackle the increasing numbers in his request to the government. “Some actions he cannot take at the BBMP level, such as banning super-spreader events, congregations, etc. Now, the government has to take action. In addition to this, increasing testing levels, and trying to step up contact tracing are very important in quickly isolating whenever there are newly-identified cases and decreasing onward transmission,” he said.
The civic body has recommended the closure of open air gyms in parks, regular gyms, swimming pools and party or community halls in apartments to stem the spread of the virus. The BBMP’s suggestion to reduce occupancy in theatres to 50% was ruled out by the government.