Bengaluru Buzz: COVID contingency plan | Two BBMP wards sealed | Cops warn against fake news…and more

State government has prepared a contingency plan in case COVID-19 cases blow up. Preparations are being made by projecting that there'd be 10,000 cases by April end. Read more in our roundup.

State govt prepares contingency plan for COVID-19

Health infrastructure for COVID-19 was being prepared by projecting that the state would have 10,000 positive cases by April end, the state government told High Court on Thursday. Government said that a contingency plan was prepared after analysing infection rates in four countries – Italy, China, Iran and Spain. The court was hearing PIL petitions related to issues arising from the lockdown.

Government claimed it had sufficient masks, PPE kits and sanitisers to handle the current caseload, but that it was trying to ascertain the number of isolation beds, ventilators, etc., necessary as per the contingency plan. Orders have been placed to buy 1,574 ventilators to augment the existing 740 ventilators. Government has also placed orders to buy lakhs of N95 and triple layer masks, and PPE kits.

Court directed the government to take steps against hoarding of masks and sanitisers, and to ensure these are sold as per prices fixed by the Centre. The retail price of masks should not exceed the price as on February 12, or not more than Rs 10 apiece, whichever is lower. The retail prices of hand sanitisers should not be more than Rs 100 per bottle of 200 ml.

In a circular issued on Thursday, the Health Department asked the public to wear masks outside homes. One can utilise unused or untorn old cotton clothes like veil, banian, T-shirt or handkerchief for making masks, but synthetic or semi-synthetic clothes should be avoided. The circular also specifies the type and size of masks to be used.

BBMP has recruited 23 medical undergraduates to work in primary health centres. They will attend to walk-in patients, screen those with symptoms, and survey localities affected by COVID-19. They have been hired for six months and will be paid a monthly salary of Rs 60,000. Most of them are preparing for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for medical postgraduate courses, to be held in January.

Source: The Hindu  | Deccan Herald  | Bangalore Mirror

Two BBMP wards completely sealed

BBMP has sealed two wards – Bapuji Nagar and Padarayanapura off Mysuru Road – after three residents tested positive for COVID-19. Both wards are densely populated, with 1.5-2 lakh people living in 25,000-30,000 houses.

Sources said that those who tested positive have been isolated, and their family members and those living adjacent to their houses shifted to a quarantine facility at a hotel. Other residents will be checked by health workers for symptoms.

BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar said that both wards will be sealed for any movement of people or things. No one will be allowed to come out of their homes, and each ward will have just one point of entry and exit. Police, health workers, BBMP, Civil Defense who interact with the residents will be screened. All essentials will be delivered at each doorstep. Only clinics, hospitals and medical shops will be allowed to open.

BBMP and Health Department have made massive preparations for surveillance here, putting together a team of 160 ASHA workers and BBMP staff. Officials are also sanitising the houses of those who tested positive, and other select areas.

On April 9, Bengaluru completed a month since the first positive case in Whitefield was detected. Meanwhile, the South Western Railway has converted 270 sleeper coaches into isolation wards, as per guidelines issued by the Railway Board. Each coach will have an eight-berth cabin for isolation of COVID-19 patients.

Source: Deccan Herald | Bangalore Mirror

Cops warn against fake news 

The city police has warned against spreading fake news and hate messages on social media. City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao has directed police personnel to book cases against such individuals under the Disaster Management Act.

On Thursday, the Karnataka State Police launched a dedicated fact-check website to curb fake news. The public can log on to to verify fake news, videos and photos circulated on social media. The website mentions nine recent cases of fake news.

The City Police is using drones to enforce the 21-day nationwide lockdown, taking a cue from the Kerala police. The drones were first used in areas under the jurisdiction of DCP (South) from Tuesday, but are expected to be used in other areas as well. According to Rohini Katoch Sepat, DCP (South), the drones will be used to effectively deploy more personnel in certain areas of the city.

Source: Indian Express

Social distancing rules flouted in markets 

A few days ago, authorities had shifted Raithara Santhe, a farmers’ market near Yelanhanka, to a vacant plot opposite the University of Agricultural Sciences. The aim was to ensure that the market had more space to operate and thereby enable social distancing. Barricades were erected, police personnel were deployed, and announcements were made urging people to not crowd. Despite these measures, consumers fail to maintain social distancing from fellow shoppers, and some even visit the market daily.

Many markets, including wholesale ones, are facing the same problem. For instance, traders from Yeshwanthpur APMC yard were shifted to Dasanapura APMC due to the lack of space. Yet, no measures have been take to ensure social distancing. Traders estimate that 400 people are operating from Dasanapura, with hundreds of lorries and trucks of farmers and traders coming here regularly.

Meanwhile, 480 HOPCOMS stores have increased procurement from farmers, and their mobile units are selling vegetables and fruits in residential apartments and other designated clusters. Sources said that the government is also encouraging food processing units to make direct purchases from farmers, so as to reduce crowding at markets.

Source: The Hindu

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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