Contact tracing lags as Covid infections spike in Bengaluru | Bengaluru News – Times of India


Heath teams ramped up testing on Saturday

BENGALURU: Alarm bells have started ringing as Covid-19 cases in the tech capital have jumped by 400 per cent in the past 20 days. While 210 fresh cases were reported on March 1, the daily count crossed 1,000 on Friday. Data-tracking experts predict that Bengaluru will add 4,000 to 6,000 new infections by March 26.
The state government is yet to acknowledge the start of a second wave formally. But doctors have expressed concerns about the rising daily caseload, especially in the past week, warning that the situation may worsen quickly if prompt steps are not taken.
In February, 6,813 cases were reported. This month (as of Saturday), the count has already crossed 10,000. But why is Bengaluru witnessing a surge again? “If everything had opened up earlier, the surge would have happened earlier. Most people, including senior citizens, who had stayed indoors for months and were protected, are now coming out and getting exposed to the virus,” said epidemiologist Dr Giridhara R Babu.
Experts say many changes have unfolded: large sections of company employees have returned to offices after a long period of work from home, the marriage season has begun, and citizens have become lax about taking precautions.
“The movement of people, especially from Kerala and Maharashtra to Bengaluru, has increased and this has aided the spread of Covid-19,” said a senior official of the health department. Another official pointed to the pandemic fatigue among citizens and a premature sense of safety because of the vaccine rollout. Some BBMP officials said lapses in Covid management strategies had also contributed to the spike. The first and foremost being the failure to conduct thorough contact tracing. “Contact tracing is not as robust as what it was last year,” said an official.
According to data from the state Covid-19 war room, six contacts per patient have been traced in Bengaluru in the past seven days. The figure is over 20 in Ballari, Belagavi, Raichur and Koppal districts.
Infections within families also appear to be growing. “Earlier, families used to isolate the member who turned positive and was asymptomatic. This is not happening now and everyone in the family is turning positive,” said a doctor at a private hospital.
This apart, ministers are split. When the technical panel and health minister listed restrictions, another cabinet member said curbs will slow down the economic recovery. BBMP wants limited seating in cinemas, but the chief minister says there is no such request before the government.

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Sagar Biswas

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