Bengaluru Buzz: ‘Cleanest’ air among cities post Deepavali | Lowest covid deaths | College attendance thin… and more

Catch up on news from the city this week, in our roundup.

Bengaluru was ‘cleanest’ city post Deepavali

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s Air Quality Index data during this year’s Deepavali (November 14 to 16) showed that air pollution levels in Bengaluru were lower by 30.34% when compared with the corresponding days last year. With an AQI between 50 and 70, it had the cleanest air among other cities.

The most polluted localities on those days were Chandra Layout, Vijayanagar, Hampinagar and Nayandahalli, with an average AQI of around 90. The least polluted areas were the Kempegowda International Airport, Madiwala, Bellandur, Bommanahalli, Yemlur, Koramangala and HSR Layout.

There has been a 20% rise in respiratory-related queries across cities (compared to the previous month), according to online health care platform, Practo. They came largely from people in the 21 to 30 age group, said Practo. Dip in temperatures, fear of COVID-19, smoke from firecrackers, and fall in air quality are believed to have prompted the queries.

The COVID-19 pandemic, doctors have observed, has led to a 75% increase in pneumonia deaths.

Source: The Hindu

Covid fatality lowest among cities, low bed occupancy

The Karnataka government has said that Bengaluru’s COVID-19 case fatality rate (1.1 per cent) is the lowest among all major cities in India. With 3,36,880 recoveries and 17,707 active cases as on Tuesday, the city’s recovery rate stood at 93.94 per cent and active rate at 4.93 per cent.

On Friday, 1,067 new cases and 1,254 recoveries were recorded in the city, while 539 patients were admitted to Intensive Care Units.

Given the dramatic decline in cases, the BBMP issued a new circular on November 17. The circular said that Covid-19 patients will be referred to private hospitals only if government Covid facilities reach 90% bed occupancy.

Currently, private hospitals have 20% occupancy, while medical colleges have a 9% bed occupancy. Of the 9,431 beds set aside for Covid-19 care in both these categories of private medical centres, only 1,364 beds have been occupied.

Source: Deccan Herald|Indian Express

World’s first gene-editing test soon

The city’s Apollo Hospital is among eight in the country where the world’s first gene-editing tool (CRISPR Cas-9)-based Covid-19 diagnostic test will be available in the next few weeks.

Dubbed ‘Feluda’, the test, developed by the government-run Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), is paper-based and will give the results in 45 minutes. By contrast, it takes eight hours to complete the conventional RT-PCR test.

Source: Deccan Herald

Low attendance in colleges, online bus passes

From Tuesday, offline college classes resumed, but many teachers continued to be on Covid duty and did not report to their campuses. The department of collegiate education has written to the government to relieve them so that they can resume teaching.

Most colleges and universities in the city reported less than 10% attendance as a vast majority of students continued to opt for online classes. Government colleges saw single-digit attendance. Prolonged delays in Covid-19 test reports also badly hit student attendance on the third day of the reopening of colleges.

Some colleges have sent SMSes to students, asking them to take online classes and not turn up for physical classes. Some engineering colleges declared that they would conduct even internal exams online.

To bolster students’ immune system, the Bangalore University has revised the food menu at its hostel by including kashaya, boiled eggs, mosambi and banana.

Meanwhile, the BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) started issuing online bus passes to students for the current academic year. So far, students were allowed to use BMTC buses using their previous year’s pass. Applicants would be given time slots to collect their passes from BangaloreOne centres in order to ensure that there is no crowding.

Source: The Times of India|Deccan Herald|The Hindu

Service charge for door-to-door waste collection likely from January

The BBMP plans to charge households a ₹200 per month service charge for door-to-door collection of garbage from January 2021. Civic officials are tapping Bescom’s infrastructure to ensure a smooth collection process.

D Randeep, BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management), said that the civic body is in talks with Bescom (Bengaluru Electricity Supply Company). It has been suggested that Bescom’s software be linked with a waste-generator mapping app. Bescom coud either add a garbage service charge in the same bill or issue a separate bill.

Many questioned the rationale behind the additional fee when the civic body already collects garbage cess as part of property tax.

Source: The Hindu

Dashboard to track trade licence applications soon

The civic body has received only around 5,646 applications for new trade licences so far this fiscal. In the 2019-20 fiscal, a total of 51,563 trade licences were issued, bringing the BBMP revenue of around ₹47 crore.

The pandemic has made people wary of launching new businesses in the city, although the BBMP had simplified the process to apply for and renew trade licences. BBMP’s Chief Health Officer (Public Health) Vijayendra said a dashboard that will reflect details in each zone, the number of new applications received, and the number of pending applications, is being developed.

Source: The Hindu

(compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar)

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