Special task force to be constituted to check virus spread in Bengaluru

The State government aims to tackle the rise in COVID-19 cases in the city to prevent the pandemic from getting out of hand as it has in other metros such as Delhi and Mumbai. With this in mind, it is set to constitute a special task force that will oversee all activities in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts.

A decision on this was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar on Friday. According to highly placed sources privy to the development, the special task force will have teams entrusted with a specific responsibility. It will be headed by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar and will include Deputy Commissioners of the two districts, chief executive officers of the Bengaluru Urban and Rural zilla panchayats and Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao.

Teams of specialists

As per the new strategy, “functional specialist” teams will be formed for surveillance, quarantine watch, testing, setting up and management of COVID care centres, surveillance of people with influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), monitoring, and keeping tabs on air/rail travellers, etc.

“Each team will be headed by an IAS officer who will be empowered to take decisions,” the source said. “Some of the officials likely to head the teams are P. Manivannan, Secretary of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries; C. Shikha, Managing Director of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation; Tushar Girinath, Chairman of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board; Ravikumar Surpur, BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Projects), and Lokesh M., BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Finance).”

An official order is likely to be issued soon. “The city has done well in containing the spread of the pandemic. The task force will ensure that it remains that way,” the source added.

Four COVID-19 care centres

The State government has instructed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to set up COVID care centres in the city so that it is better prepared to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus.

These centres are proposed to be set up at Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Sampangiramanagar, Tripura Vasini in Palace Grounds, Bangalore International Exhibition Centre on Tumakuru Road, and Karnataka Trade Promotion Organisation in Whitefield. “We are also exploring the possibility of setting up such care centres in hostels of engineering colleges,” an official said.


Each of these facilities will have a dedicated medical team, essential facilities, and adequate security. “They will house those who may not require active treatment, such as patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms and asymptomatic persons, mainly contacts of patients who have been tested positive,” the official said.

Not many takers for BBMP’s healthline

In April this year, the BBMP launched an initiative that offered tele-consultation services on health issues. To date, however, the tele-healthline — launched in collaboration with private and philanthropic organisations — has had only a few takers.

“When the service was launched, the lockdown was in place with many restrictions. This meant that both public and private healthcare facilities were not able to provide routine out-patient services,” an official said, explaining the idea behind the initiative.

Now that restrictions have eased considerably, citizens seeking medical care have more options. They can get prescriptions by visiting private clinics or over-the-counter medicines in pharmacies and medical shops. OPD services are now available in private hospitals. People can call 0744-7118949 to access the healthline.

However, with the change in weather pattern in the city, the BBMP is expecting a surge in ILI cases. “We will once again publicise the healthline so that more citizens can benefit from it,” the official added.

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Sagar Biswas

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