This is in stark contrast to the situation in other metros: Mumbai has reported over 46,000 positive cases, Delhi 26,000, Chennai 19,000, and Kolkata 2,000. Bengaluru’s success in containing the viral spread has been acknowledged by the Centre, and other cities have been exhorted to follow the same model. So, how did Bengaluru keep the corona count low? STOI spoke to various officials and experts about the strategy.
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“When we realised that more people will be flying into Bengaluru from Covid-affected countries, we had to act in a cohesive manner. We roped in all agencies and made it clear that there should be no chinks in the armour. About 1.4 lakh international travellers were screened and their movements were monitored. Their primary and secondary contacts were kept under observation,” said deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan. “Coordination between the civic agency and health and home departments was effective and the spread of infection from the travellers was minimal.”
State health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said the labour department and police also played an important role. “In Bengaluru, people are responsible; distancing is being practised and almost everyone wears a mask,” he said.
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Monitoring affected zones
Mapping of containment zones and predictive modelling are key factors, according to BBMP commissioner BH Anil Kumar, who was instrumental in setting up the Covid-19 Control Room. Every time a case was reported, the locality was sealed and residents’ movements were regulated. When five infections came to light in Padarayanapura on April 19, BBMP sealed the ward. “We didn’t wait for orders, we took prompt action,” said Dr Ravikumar Surpur, special commissioner, health. The same protocol was followed in Hongasandra, where a labourer tested positive. The steps protected nearby areas such Electronics City and HSR Layout.
Residents’ welfare associations acted as pillars by keeping a watch on those in home quarantine, Kumar said.
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BBMP didn’t stop at picking up and sending a patient to the hospital. Its teams identified all contacts, isolating them. As on Saturday, 1,840 primary and 5,759 secondary contacts were in quarantine. “Every time a case was detected, we launched contact tracing. We didn’t leave anything to chance,” said M Lokesh, special commissioner and Covid-19 surveillance in-charge.
Cops in action
Bengaluru police, led by Bhaskar Rao, strictly implemented the lockdown, ensuring citizens didn’t roam around without a genuine reason. In containment zones where trouble erupted, cops swiftly detained troublemakers and provided protection to health workers.