The focus of the BBMP was to screen, isolate or quarantine international passengers. Infection remained less until June.
Bengaluru: Public health now features at the top of BBMP’s priority list, owing to the strike of Covid. The city was where Karnataka’s first Covid case was recorded and Bengaluru continues to account for half of Karnataka’s everyday infections.
The focus of the BBMP was to screen, isolate or quarantine international passengers. Another step was to prepare the Karnataka government-run Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Disease to handle Covid patients. Infection remained less until June and Bengaluru was regarded as one of the city’s that managed Covid well.
But the number of cases started to increase from the next month and the city’s model took a backseat. The city recorded the highest number of infections among all metros in India for many days. The civic body’s move to barricade houses of the infected people led to stigma and fear of Covid.
On July 18, the government brought in a change of guard, putting in charge N. Manjunatha Prasad, principal secretary of revenue as BBMP commissioner. The first thing he did was to look into the functioning of private hospitals. The government then used all possible legal ways to ensure that hospitals kept 50% of their beds to treat patients referred by public hospitals.
Prasad told the Times of India, “We hired 1,500 people on contract basis as swab collectors, lab technicians and data entry operators and their work has been crucial in testing and reporting.”
In July, there were not enough testing facilities. Prasad said, “We had to streamline the patient referral system. Not only was bed shortage a concern, we did not have enough crematoria for fatalities in July. A dozen more graveyards were added, four of which were for Covid victims.”
Bengaluru has done over 44 lakh tests and its daily target is 55,000 tests. Prasad said, “We are working on vaccine storage in 141 primary health centres falling under BBMP.”