After Maharashtra, Bengaluru is now witnessing a rapid surge in Covid-19 cases over the past few days. Officials said on Monday that an apartment complex was sealed after after 10 people contracted the virus.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said that the cases were found between February 15 and 22. The apartment complex has nine blocks and 1,500 residents. The BBMP chief said that six blocks were made into containment zones based on their findings.
This is the second apartment complex that has been declared a containment zone this month. Last week, after 113 residents of an apartment complex tested positive for Covid-19, it was made into a containment zone.
The district administration had started a mass testing drive in the apartment complex after around two dozen cases emerged from there in a couple of days.
In total, the civic agency BBMP has identified some three Covid clusters in the city in recent times, one at a nursing college and two others inside a residential complex.
Bengaluru municipal agency chief Manjunath Prasad attributed this spike in cases to the laxity on the part of people in following Covid safety restrictions. He also warned of dire consequences amounting to a lockdown in the city if people do not adhere to social distancing norms and such a surge in cases continues.
Meanwhile, the health minister K Sudhakar on Monday announced that strict action will be taken against those found violating covid protocol. "Many functions, protests and events are taking place in the state, which is against the Technical Advisory Committee's suggestions, we have noticed that these events are seen flouting rules, henceforth, marshalls will be deployed outside such events. All marriage halls will have one Marshal from here on" he said.
These marshals will ensure guests should wear mask, and maintain social distance else they will attract a hefty penalty. Earlier, the government had issued a circular to event caterers and food providers in hostels and restaurants to get tested before they render any services. Compulsory RT-PCR tests for all catering staff every fortnight has been directed.
Sudhakar has ruled out the possibility of another lockdown in Karnataka. At a press conference, he said, "I have instructed all our commissioners to engage more marshals to monitor Covid protocols. There is a marginal rise in the positivity rate in the last few days. It's at 1.27 percent, which is not alarmingly high. At the moment, Karnataka doesn't deserve a lockdown."
"With a population of 13 million in the city, we are seeing a daily rise in cases by 200 to 300. In Kerala and Maharashtra, there is a spike in cases and the concern is we share borders with these two states," Mr. Prasad told NDTV.
Karnataka is currently the third worst-hit state after Maharashtra and Kerala. Adding to it, Bengaluru on February 16 saw a spike in Covid share at 70 percent. The city saw a dramatic rise in Covid cases over the last five days. The last time it was this high was in March and July last year when Covid-19 was at its peak.
(With inputs from Stacy Pereira)