Bengaluru Buzz: Variants in 72% COVID patients | Air pollution up by 90%… and more

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

72% COVID patients have new variants

About 71.7% of 1,018 patients in the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) and Bengaluru Urban district limits had the latest variants of SARS-CoV-2. Out of the 2,774 samples received for genomic sequencing, 1,738 were processed. This includes 525 patients with the Delta variant, 116 with Kappa, 88 with Alpha, and one with Delta Plus. In all, 730 patients have the new variants.

A member of the state genomic surveillance committee said that the BBMP should be acting on the data. Quick tracing is crucial. It is important to check if patients with the Delta variants have recovered or not. It is also necessary to see whether they have been vaccinated, how many are in the ICU and how many needed oxygen.

On Wednesday, Bengaluru Urban reported 611 new cases, with 693 discharges and 12 deaths. It had the highest number of active cases in the country for over two months, but it has managed to reduce its active caseload to 15,395 on Monday, July 5th, and has come down to the second position at present.

Meanwhile, a study by the Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research found that 26 patients who recovered from COVID had suffered a heart attack. It happened seven to eight weeks post-recovery. As the body’s immune system fights off the virus, the inflammatory process can damage some healthy tissues, including those in the heart.

Source: Deccan Herald, Indian Express, The Hindu, Bangalore Mirror

Govt owes lakhs to private hospitals

The government is yet to clear the dues of patients treated under its quota by private hospitals. Many hospitals have complained that the government is liable to pay them lakhs of rupees for treating patients under the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST). This is a separate body under the Health Department acting as the implementing agency for Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka. There is a meagre 29.57% of the total patients treated under the SAST quota. Across the state, payments for 13,847 Covid-19 patients amounting to Rs 43.79 crore, are in the pipeline.

Source: Deccan Herald

Air pollution up by 90% post-unlock

A satellite data analysis by Greenpeace shows a 90% spike in nitrogen dioxide in Bengaluru. In its latest report, ‘Behind the Smokescreen’, Greenpeace researchers analysed air pollution data for April and compared it with the corresponding period last year. Data for a 10-km radius of Bengaluru measured in Dobson Units (DU) showed that the nitrogen dioxide concentration went up from 0.085 in April 2020 to 0.161 in April 2021. So it was a staggering 89.41% spike.

Nitrogen dioxide is mainly generated by fossil fuel burning in vehicles, power generation and industries. It causes respiratory-related ailments, including asthma. It also reacts with chemicals in the atmosphere to form particulate matter. Exposure to this severely impacts people’s health at all ages, and cause complications of the respiratory and circulatory systems and the brain. It also leads to increases in hospital admissions and mortality, Greenpeace said.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu

Read More: How to draft COVID unlock notifications or not

Fuel prices hiked again

Petrol and diesel prices were hiked for the second consecutive day on Thursday, July 8, 2021, touching a record high. In Bengaluru, petrol is priced at Rs. 103.93 per litre and diesel costs Rs. 94.99 per litre.

Source: Indian Express

Steps to fight COVID

After Unlock on Monday, the BBMP set up 54 COVID-19-appropriate behaviour (CAB) enforcement teams. Each had four marshals and one Home Guard or police constable.

The BBMP has also constituted a 14-member panel comprising paediatric experts. It will include five medical experts and nine civic officials. Last month, Dr Devi Shetty-led committee had noted that the city may require 1,838 to 3,677 beds during the third wave, that is expected in August-September. BBMP says there are less than 300 paediatric COVID beds currently.

Source: The. Hindu, Deccan Herald, Indian Express

Single-screen theatresproperty tax waived

The Karnataka State Film Exhibitors Association (KSFEA) submitted a memorandum to the government and got an order waiving property tax on single-screen theatres for the 2021-22 financial year. The waiver will cost the state exchequer Rs 9 crore. There are 630 single-screen theatres in the state that have suffered losses during the pandemic.

Source: Indian Express

All PU students to be promoted

The government submitted before the High Court that it will promote all II PU students, including repeaters. Earlier, the DPUE (Department of Pre-University Education) had announced its decision to promote regular/fresher students of II PU while holding examinations only for repeaters. The state government submitted that it will promote regular/fresher II PU students by considering 45 per cent of SSLC marks, 45 per cent of I PU marks and 10 per cent of the internal assessment. The government also said that it will promote all the repeaters by giving grace marks in the respective subject. However, private candidates are excluded from the policy of promotion without examination.

students studying
II PU students to be promoted. File pic.

Meanwhile, the lecturers from aided and government colleges are returning to work, to prepare for colleges to reopen for offline classes,

The government boys high school in Malleshwaram is the first state-run school in the country to start a programme to launch a satellite. Designing and making the satellite will be at the school by involving students of other government schools.

Source: Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express

Read More: Over 100 college students are aiding Bengaluru’s pourakarmikas during COVID. Here’s how.

Crackdown on lake land grabbers

Civic authorities have removed encroachments from Varanasi and Junnasandra lakes in eastern and southeastern Bengaluru. Squatters had planned to build sheds on Junnasandra Lake. In Varanasi lake, 12 houses built illegally had to be demolished with police support, officials said.

Source: Deccan Herald

Plan to treat Vrishabhavathi

In its efforts to reclaim Vrishabhavathi, the Environment and Ecology department is mulling upgrading existing sewage treatment plants (STPs) to handle Tertiary Treatment Process (TTP). It would allow treated water to be used for agriculture and other secondary and tertiary purposes. The department will chalk out a plan, spread over three to five years, at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore. This scheme aims to treat 1,500 MLD of wastewater in a scientific way in three stages.

Source: Deccan Herald, The Hindu

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