'Bengaluru at Tipping Point': Experts Urge People to Behave Responsibly Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

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With 550 new Covid-19 cases reported in Karnataka’s Bengaluru on Monday, health experts have said that a continuous surge in infection cases is a matter of grave concern and strict measures must be imposed soon to control the further spread of the coronavirus in the city.

“The incremental rise suggests Bengaluru is seeing a surge. Most of the new cases are in peripheral areas where prevalence was comparatively lower in our earlier sero-survey. Outer areas are epicentres of the surge,” Time of India quoted Dr Giridhara R Babu, epidemiologist and member of the technical advisory committee, as saying.

Dr Babu also warned that the city is “at a tipping point” and self-regulation is needed. “It could be that the virus itself is changing and we haven't been able to detect clear strains in some of these places. We don't know if they are more infectious. But the fact remains that people are not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. Marshals can't be everywhere. Self-regulation is needed.”

Urging people to adhere to Covid-19 protocol the way they followed last year, he said, “If we don't take action now, Bengaluru will see 1,000 cases a day. Once we hit that mark, it will increase exponentially, and it will become very difficult to control. This will lead to an increase in ICU admissions. We will have to re-do whatever we did last year.”

Echoing similar concerns, Dr V Ravi, neurovirologist and another member of Karnataka's technical advisory committee, said most of the cases are being registered from hostels and apartments.

"People have to behave more responsibly. Tracking, testing and treating has to be more aggressive. A huge part of the responsibility lies with people and they must understand that the situation is slipping out of our hands,” TOI quoted Dr Ravi as saying.

Meanwhile, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad said the surge is due to arrival of people from neighbouring states such as Maharashtra and Kerala, where cases are high at present. “But not everyone who is testing positive has travel history," he admitted to TOI.

While talking about the future course of action regarding Covid-19 testing, Prasad said, “One of the big reasons is Covid-appropriate behaviour among people. The cases are on surge because Covid-19 testing has increased in Bengaluru. We are currently conducting 40,000 tests a day and we will increase it to 50,000 a day.”

Karnataka logged 932 fresh COVID-19 cases and seven related fatalities, taking the total number of infections to 9.61 lakh and the toll to 12,397, the Health department said on Monday. The day also saw 429 patients getting discharged after recovery.

Bengaluru Urban continued to top the list of fresh cases, with 550 infections. Cumulatively 9,61,204 Covid-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state, which includes 12,397 deaths and 9,39,928 discharges, the Health department said in a bulletin.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa yesterday convened a meeting of officials and health experts in the wake of a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent days, his office had said.

Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Jawaid Akhtar in a circular had said the measure has been taken amid the emergence of new clusters and fear of a second wave of the pandemic. As per new rules, 500 people will be allowed at marriages if it is an open space, and only 200 if it is a hall or a closed space.

Similarly for birthday celebrations, the limit would be 100 and 50 respectively for functions in open and closed spaces. A similar cap has been specified for funerals. However, at cremations and burials, only 50 are allowed.

A maximum of 500 people will be allowed for religious and political gatherings in open spaces.

(with inputs from PTI)