Bengaluru Buzz: COVID restrictions | Public transport downscaled | Arrest in ‘Bulli Bai’ case…and more

The city's COVID cases have been shooting up, and restrictions on mobility are in place now. Read more in our weekly news roundup.

COVID restrictions

The third wave of COVID has begun in the State, and Bengaluru is the epicentre because of the international airport, said Health Minister K Sudhakar. Due to rising COVID cases, weekend curfew has been imposed for two weeks; the curfew is effective from 10 pm on Fridays to 5 am on Mondays. All flyovers will be closed during these hours. However concessions were later made to allow law firms to operate on weekends.

Night curfew has been extended for two weeks, starting January 7th. However, all essential services will continue. The government also decided to shut schools and pre-university colleges for two weeks, except for 10th and 12th standard students. Those violating the curfew will be prosecuted under provisions of the Disaster Management Act, IPC and the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act. Between December 28 and January 4, the Bengaluru traffic police had seized 349 vehicles that violated the night curfew.

A maximum of 200 people are allowed in marriages at open venues, and 100 in marriage halls. Not more than 50 people will be allowed at any point inside places of religious worship. Fifty per cent occupancy is allowed in pubs, bars, cinema halls and malls, and only those who are double-vaccinated are allowed. The COVID TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) has recommended a universal vaccine pass for fully inoculated citizens.

Meanwhile, the retail industry is questioning the rationale behind the curfew. Many trade bodies, including the Karnataka chapters of the Retailers Association of India and the National Restaurant Association of India have petitioned the state government to reconsider the weekend curfew and instead focus on enforcing COVID-appropriate behaviour. 

Source: The Indian Express, Deccan Herald, The Hindu

Read More: Third wave of the pandemic: Is Bengaluru prepared?

Public transport scaled down

Namma Metro operations will be scaled down on Saturdays and Sundays, with services limited to 8 am-9 pm instead of 5 am-11 pm. On Fridays, the last train will leave terminal stations at 10 pm. The frequency of weekday trains will be reduced.

Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus services will be suspended for public use on Saturdays and Sundays, till January 16. However, 10% of the services will be operated on these days to cater to the personnel engaged in essential services and exempted activities. The services will be operated for limited hours from 6 am to 10 pm, and will exclude containment zones.

Source: Deccan Herald

COVID cases surge

The Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Statistical Institute have submitted projections to the TAC that the COVID cases in the state would touch 40,000 in a best-case scenario, 80,000 in a moderate scenario and 1.3 lakh in a worst-case scenario. On Tuesday, COVID cases climbed 100% to 2,053 from 1,041 cases on Monday. The state’s total positivity rate jumped from 1.6% to 2.59% in less than 24 hours. Between January 1 and January 6, the number of containment zones went up from 110 to 221.

A 15-year-old girl has become the first minor to die of COVID since September. She had ILI (influenza-like illness) symptoms, but no known comorbidities, according to an official bulletin released on Wednesday.

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

21-year-old detained in ‘Bulli Bai’ app case

A 21-year-old engineering student, Vishal Kumar Jha, was detained from a south Bengaluru college and sent to police custody on Monday in the ‘Bulli Bai’ hate app case. He had posted obscene and derogatory content targeting Muslim women. Kumar was questioned for 10 hours by the Mumbai Police Cyber Cell, and has been sent to police custody till January 10th.

Source: The Indian Express, Hindustan Times

City gears up to fight COVID

The state government issued an order that private hospitals and nursing homes should reserve 30% beds under all categories – that is, a total of 10,000 to 12,000 beds – for COVID patients. All wards will have tele-triaging and mobile triaging teams to ascertain if an infected person needs hospitalisation.

Nodal officers have been directed to inspect hospitals and collect data on the number of vacant beds. Help desks should be opened at hospitals with more than 100 beds. BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta met hoteliers’ associations and instructed them to make preparations to set up COVID Care Centres (CCCs) and step-down hospitals at hotels, and also to tie up with private hospitals.

People awaiting their turn at a vaccination camp. Pic: COVIDAction Collab

On Tuesday, the first day of the vaccination drive for the 15-18 age group, Bengaluru Urban district vaccinated only 8,784 out of its target of 32,800. The BBMP has identified 4.4 lakh school and PUC students to be vaccinated in the coming days. Over 80% of the adult population in Karnataka is now fully vaccinated.

Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu

Read More: How apartment RWAs can prepare to handle COVID cases

Private firms to maintain road junctions

BBMP has brought in private firms to maintain four recently beautified junctions – KR Circle, Windsor Manor, Tagore Circle in RT Nagar, and Nayandahalli junction on Mysuru Road. BBMP had spent almost Rs 10 crore for these works.

The civic body plans to beautify 12 more traffic junctions and install water fountains in another 42. A BBMP official said they are finalising the detailed project report (DPR) for these works.

Source: Deccan Herald

Self-service cycle kiosk opened

The Directorate of Urban Land Transport has set up Pedal Port, a self-service kiosk to repair cycles, at the Dr B R Ambedkar Metro station exit near Vidhana Soudha. The project was piloted at Church Street when it was made pedestrian-friendly last year. An official said that Pedal Port is the first initiative in which cycle pumps and tools such as tyre levers, screwdrivers, and spanners are provided for self-service.

Source: The Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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