Partial relaxation of lockdown
Karnataka government has announced partial relaxation of lockdown from the midnight of April 23, so as to mitigate hardships faced by the public. An official order issued by Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar explained that some select activities would be allowed outside COVID-19 containment zones.
Public transportation will remain suspended till May 3. Only private vehicles with passes for emergency services and for commuting to workplaces and back, will be allowed. Construction activities will be allowed for Metro rail projects within the municipal corporations. Meanwhile, IT and ITeS (IT-enabled services) will be allowed to work with minimum essential staff.
Under the supply of essential goods category, the government has included dry fruits, ice cream and juice shops (take-away only). Food processing units such as bread factories, milk processing plants, flour mills and dal mills have been permitted. Recharge facilities for prepaid mobile connections, shops selling educational books and electrical fans too will be available.
However, the federation of street vendors’ associations rue that all vendors have not been exempted from restrictions, except a few who are allowed to sell fruits and vegetables.
Source: Indian Express|Deccan Herald
Telemedicine helplines, app launched
BBMP, in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Vital Strategies, has launched a health line (07447118949) for tele consultation services related to medical and counselling issues. BBMP’s 42 doctors will work in four shifts and attend to citizens. The health line will be open between 8 am and 8 pm.
All calls will be routed to the doctors by the call centre. Each caller will be given a unique ID. If during consultation, the doctors feel further investigation is required, a video call would be made to the patient. In addition to details of the medical condition, doctors have been directed to collect patients’ travel history over the past 28 days and history of contact with any known COVID-19 positive patient.
To enhance the state’s surveillance and tracking facilities, the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa launched a helpline number and mobile app named Apthamitra, with a toll-free number 14410. The idea is to reach out to citizens and identify those having influenza-like illness (ILI), Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), and other COVID-like symptoms.
The platform will identify low-risk patients with symptoms similar to COVID-19, apart from providing telemedicine support, over-the-counter medicinal support and counselling related to self-quarantine measures. The helpline will function from six centres in the state – four from Bengaluru and one each from Mysuru and Mangaluru, from 8 am to 8 pm daily. It will also complement the general health helpline (104) and health emergency helpline (108).
Source: The Hindu | Indian Express
Multiple COVID-19 cases reported from one labour colony
Nine positive cases were reported from a labour colony at Vidyajyothinagar, Hongasandra ward, on April 23. All of them were primary contacts of a 54-year-old migrant labourer who had tested positive (patient-419) the day before. BBMP has sealed the area, which has over 500 houses apart from the temporary sheds where the construction workers stayed. Since then, more of the patient’s contacts have tested positive, and many others have been kept under surveillance.
Sources in the BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd) said they were trying to identify the construction labourers to find if they had worked with any Namma Metro contractor. A private hospital’s licence was cancelled and it was sealed by the Bengaluru Urban district administration for not informing the government of the then-suspected case of patient-419. A few hospital staff had also resisted quarantine.
Source: The Hindu
15% rise in domestic water consumption
The BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) has seen a gradual increase of 15% in domestic consumption of water due to the lockdown.
Tushar Girinath, Chairman, BWSSB, said there is usually a spike in water consumption in summer, but this year, the spike is above average as everyone is home all the time. As water meter reading was stopped due to the lockdown, they do not have accurate data but based on parameters such as pumping and the quantity of water used, the consumption, on average, seems to have increased.
Vishwanath Srikantaiah, water conservationist, said this is the right time for all agencies concerned to encourage people to use greywater for various purposes.
Despite the increase in consumption, there has been a dip in water bill collections. BWSSB collects Rs 120 crore from consumers every month. It saw a dip in March and is expecting a revenue dip in April as well. But the Board has offered a ‘payment holiday’ due to the lockdown, promising it would not disconnect water supply if people are unable to pay. The Board has seen an increase in online payments though.
Source: The Hindu
Journalists, cops to be tested
The state government has decided to test journalists and police personnel on pandemic-related duties. An official order said that journalists involved in COVID-19 reporting according to the list provided by the Department of Information and Publicity, will be tested after collecting throat and nasal swabs.
From April 23, 200 each of the 1000 journalists in Bengaluru have been directed to report at CV Raman Hospital on Old Madras Road, Indiranagar, between 10 am and 4 pm. The government has also directed “all symptomatic police personnel involved in quarantine/isolation/surveillance activities of suspect/confirmed COVID-19 cases in the State” to undergo testing.
Source: Indian Express