COVID-19 cases cross 1000 mark in Bengaluru
With 94 new COVID cases reported on June 20, Bengaluru became the third district in Karnataka to have over 1000 cases. As of Saturday, the city had 1076 cases and 61 deaths. It has had 319 containment zones overall, of which 279 are currently active. Tracking the source of infection has been a challenge in many cases.
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Another concern is that more police personnel are testing positive for COVID. As on Saturday, 39 personnel had tested positive and two had died.
Bengaluru still has the lowest COVID burden among cities with population of over 10 million, i.e., Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi. Yet, with the increasing number of cases, authorities are now preparing for a surge.
Source: Bangalore Mirror | Indian Express
Demand for ICU beds increase
At the city’s main designated COVID hospital, the Emergency and Trauma Care Centre (Victoria Hospital), ICUs (intensive-care units) had ran out of beds as of June 18. All 36 ICU beds were occupied/reserved here, and 14 other beds in the hospital were not ready because of logistical reasons.
Health Commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey maintained that ICU beds in Bowring Hospital and RGICD could be used. He further said that the city’s private hospitals have enough ICU beds.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 task force has decided to halve the cost of testing in private hospitals for people referred by government hospitals. The task force has also put a cap on the room rent and treatment cost of the patients referred by any government hospital. This has been done anticipating that State-run hospitals may not be able to handle all the cases if there is a spike in the coming days.
Source: Deccan Herald|Bangalore Mirror
Citizen Quarantine Squad to be formed
The state’s special task force is looking to rope in citizens to form a ‘Citizen Quarantine Squad’, to ensure that those in home quarantine comply with rules. According to a senior IAS official, nearly half the people who came to Bengaluru did not register on the Seva Sindhu portal. These people may not have quarantined themselves, and there are no records through which they may be traced.
In the Citizen Quarantine Squad, one citizen has to be enrolled for every 50 to 100 houses. This person will be responsible for monitoring movement (inter-state/inter-country) within his/her limits, ensuring that those who are placed in 14-day home quarantine are following the rules, and report to the booth level officer in-charge, the official explained.
At least 25,000 citizens will have to join hands with the government for this, said the official. They are coordinating with HAM radio operators, several non-profit organisations and residents’ welfare associations. More than 500 citizens have already signed up.
Source: The Hindu
Vikasa Soudha staff to work from home
State government on Thursday ordered all its employees at the Vikasa Soudha to work from home on Friday, so that BBMP could sanitise the building. An employee of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, who works out of Vikasa Soudha, had tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Staff from the Vikasa Soudha and the adjoining Vidhana Soudha are to undergo screening for COVID-19 too. Screening will be done on Friday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. Nearly 5,000 employees have been working in these two buildings. Additional police force has been deployed at Vikasa Soudha, and the government has banned the public from entering the building.
Source: The Hindu | Indian Express
Malls remain empty as wary Bengalureans stay indoors
Footfall has been low in the first weekend since malls reopened after lockdown, as citizens, wary of the rising number of positive cases, remained at home. Though malls have implemented several precautionary measures including sanitisation tunnels, mandatory masks and digital payments for contact-free shopping, patrons are worried.
Not all shops have opened for business either; retailers say around 30% are still shut. Since business is currently unviable, many have decided to open their outlets only after footfall increases.
Uday Garudachar, who owns the chain of Garuda Malls, estimated that the business turnover past week would only be 10-15% of that in pre-COVID times. He said it may be at least a year before business picks up.
Source: The Hindu
BBMP to test people visiting markets, eateries, medical shops
BBMP plans to test people visiting public spaces such as markets, malls, restaurants, supermarkets and medical establishments. The civic body has developed a new strategy called ‘anti-contact tracing’ to uncover clusters where the virus may be spreading quietly. Officials plan to combine samples from crowded places with those taken from people’s homes. BBMP developed this approach with their data analysis team, which includes experts from the Indian Institute of Science.
While contact tracing depends on quickly tracing and isolating all contacts of a patient, officials say that ‘anti-contact tracing’ requires more exploratory testing as it involves hunting for new clusters. B H Anil Kumar, BBMP Commissioner, said they will focus on those who have come into contact with a large number of people.
Meanwhile, Kempegowda International Airport has introduced ultraviolet treatment to scan outbound baggage, apart from other measures to enhance passenger and staff safety.
Source: The Hindu|The Times of India
BMTC sees rise in ridership
The BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) has reported a steady increase in daily ridership figures. In the last week alone, after it extended operations from 5 am to 9 pm, it recorded over 10 lakh passengers. In contrast, ridership on May 19, the first day of resuming services, was only 10,000. The numbers, however, are low when compared to pre-lockdown days when the daily ridership averaged 35 lakh.
Currently, ridership is higher in routes to Kengeri, KR Puram, Hoskote, Attibele and Tumakuru Road. Even for 10 lakh commuters, BMTC is operating over 4,800 buses now to ensure social distancing and provide services frequently, said BMTC Managing Director C Shikha. Prior to lockdown, the corporation was operating around 6,000 buses daily.
BMTC will impose a fine of Rs 500 on drivers and conductors who do not wear masks while on duty. A circular issued on Friday warned that strict action would be taken against those who are fined more than once.
Meanwhile, commuters have not fully adapted to the newly introduced UPI based e-wallet system in buses. The number of digital transactions is only around 1,000 a day. At present, passengers can pay through QR code in over 4,000 buses. Though BMTC’s earnings have gradually increased post lockdown, this is still less than 50% of that before lockdown.
Source: The Hindu
PUC exams held
Over 5.72 lakh second pre-university (PU) students wearing masks, and some even gloves, gathered at 1,016 centres across Karnataka on Thursday morning to write the last exam (English). But many students and parents flouted social distancing rules, especially after the exam.
Results will be declared in the first week of July. According to Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, evaluation of papers of 26 out of 39 subjects has been completed.
Source: The Hindu
British Council Library in Bengaluru to be only online
Sixty years after its inception in the city, British Council Library has shut its doors. It will now be available only online. It will launch the mobile app version of the digital library at the end of June, for both Android and iOS platforms. BCL announced that it wanted to ensure that more people in more cities could access its wide range of digital learning resources.
Source: The Hindu
[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]