Bengaluru Buzz: Weekend curfew lifted | Mobile Testing Units | Ward delimitation draft ready…and more

After a meeting on Friday, state government has lifted the weekend curfew, but retained other restrictions. Read more in our weekly news roundup.

Weekend curfew lifted

On Friday, after a two-hour meeting chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, the government decided to lift the stay-at-home order on weekends. The decision came as the government was under pressure from the public, trade and business establishments.

However all other curbs such as night curfew and 50% occupancy in restaurants, have been retained. Schools and colleges in Bengaluru Urban district, where the positivity rate among children is high, will remain closed for Classes 10, 11 and 12 (pre-university).

However, if the rate of hospitalisation in the State crosses 5%, the weekend curfew would be reimposed, said Revenue Minister R Ashoka. Currently, there are 2.93 lakh active cases in the State, of whom 2.86 lakh are isolated at home.

The government has decided to “rationalise” sick leaves of government officials, by reducing recovery days to anywhere between three and seven days. Even healthcare workers who are primary contacts can return to work after three days if they have no symptoms. The government is facing a serious manpower crisis, with officials forced to take sick leave after testing positive.

BJP leader N R Ramesh was booked on Thursday for allegedly celebrating his birthday in violation of COVID restrictions. Most people who took part in the event did not wear masks and failed to follow social distancing, a policeman said.

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

Highest-ever daily COVID case count

On Thursday, Bengaluru Urban recorded 30,540 COVID cases, the highest daily count so far. The highest single-day count until then was 26,756, recorded last April during the second wave. The percentage of COVID hospitalisations in Bengaluru rose from last week’s 1.55% to 1.82% on Thursday evening, while the bed occupancy rate rose by 143%.

Dr Thrilok Chandra, Special Commissioner (Health) at BBMP, said there were 160 to 200 admissions in private hospitals, mostly for general beds. He said the pandemic was driving some unnecessarily to hospitals, though the Health Department had noted that mildly symptomatic individuals should not strain the medical infrastructure. However, sources from PHANA (Private Hospital and Nursing Home Association) said that people visiting hospitals are mostly over 60, with comorbidities, or with continuous 100°F fever and deteriorating oxygen saturation.

Source: Deccan Herald

Read more: Is Bengaluru prepared enough to tackle COVID third wave?

BBMP ward delimitation draft ready

The first draft of the BBMP ward delimitation report – which increases the number of wards from 198 to 243 – is ready. Notifying the 243 wards is key to holding BBMP elections; the city has not had an elected Council since September 2020.

The first draft, which took about a year to complete, is being criticised by MLAs from all parties, on grounds that they had not been consulted during its preparation. Also, BBMP has not yet received suggestions from the public or made the report public. However, a senior BBMP official said suggestions/objections would be invited from the public once the Urban Development Department approved the draft.

Source: Deccan Herald

Mobile testing unit in South Zone

BBMP has introduced 24/7 on-call mobile testing in the South Zone. Citizens can get tested at their doorstep by giving a call to the South Zone helpline. The Mobile Testing Units will only conduct a Rapid Antigen Test and provide the results immediately and give clear guidance to patients on further action. If successful, BBMP plans to extend the initiative to other zones. The Mobile Testing Unit was donated to South Zone by Mantra4Change and Suriya Foundation, sponsored by the financial services company Zerodha.

BBMP has increased the number of mobile triaging units to around 370. These units and are sent to high-risk patients’ residences to assess their medical condition and allocate hospital beds on a need basis.

Source: Deccan Herald, Indian Express

Vaccination for 12-14 age group

BBMP will begin jabbing nearly six lakh children in the 12-14 age group, once they are done with the 15-18 age group. Around 51% of the targeted 4.41 lakh teenagers in the 15-18 age group in BBMP limits have been vaccinated.

Source: Deccan Herald

Takers for reduced AC bus fares

BMTC‘s (Bangalore Metropolitan Road Transport Corporation’s) decision to reduce fares and monthly pass rates of its air-conditioned buses has prompted over 1,000 citizens to purchase monthly passes. BMTC had stopped operating most of its AC buses during the pandemic because of low passenger numbers.

A BMTC bus
Air-conditioned buses had no takers during the pandemic. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

This month, BMTC started issuing monthly passes for Rs 1,500 instead of Rs 2,000, which helped them sell 1,197 passes. Even after the COVID surge, the services have not been reduced. Currently, BMTC operates 311 AC bus schedules, including 78 Vayu Vajra services to the Kempegowda International Airport, said a BMTC official. BMTC is also planning to re-introduce online booking of seats in Vayu Vajra services.

Source: The Hindu

Read More: BMTC buses, schedules lower than pre-second wave levels

Challaghatta Metro station by August

The Challaghatta Metro station, nearly 2 km from Kengeri Metro station, will be ready for operations only by August. At the time of the commencement of the extended Purple Line between Mysuru Road and Kengeri, it was expected to be ready by March 2022. Senior officials in the BMRCL (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited) said that 90% of the structural work on this elevated station is completed.

Source: The New Indian Express

Asia’s biggest Centre of Excellence

On Thursday, state government launched the AVGC Center of Excellence (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics CoE), positioning it as a pioneering high-technology digital media hub. The Centre, located in Mahadevapura, is an initiative of ‘Innovate Karnataka’, and was funded by the Karnataka Department of Electronics, IT/BT.

Source: Deccan Herald

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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