Highrise problem: Residents in apartments in Bengaluru refusing tests | Bengaluru News – Times of India
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BENGALURU: Resistance from residents in apartments is undermining Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) efforts to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, civic officials claim.
Over the past month, Bengaluru’s daily Covid-19 positive tally has increased from about 300 to over 1,000 on Friday. Civic agency officials have noticed a sudden spurt in residents in apartment complexes testing positive.
More than 70% of cases are from apartment complexes, confirmed N Manjunatha Prasad, BBMP commissioner rather than slums. “People think that urban poor and the migrant population are fuelling the spike in the cases, but that is not entirely true. Those in apartment complexes are the reason for the increase in cases,” Prasad said.
The sudden increase in positivity and cluster outbreaks were first seen in many apartments in the last week of February. BBMP scrambled into action and conducted random testing in such housing enclaves. But resistance from residents is posing a challenge.
“We send mobile testing units to apartment complexes and many residents are testing positive which is shocking,” said P Rajendra Cholan, special commissioner, health, BBMP. “This is because many are attending social gatherings and have travel history besides a lack of routine checks. Covidappropriate behaviour is lacking. Also, residents are hesitant to undergo the test.”
Over the past three weeks, more than 12 apartment complexes mostly in Bommanahalli, east, and Yelahanka zones, have been declared containment zones.
Dr Rehan Shahed, south zone war room in charge, said apartments in east zone, Bommanahalli, and Yelahanka are registering a significant number of new cases each day as opposed to other zones. “Residents in apartments in these zones are also reluctant to get tested because they do not want the complex to be declared a containment zone. For one it’s a matter of prestige and for another it entails restrictions,” Shahed said.
Many residents are also travelling on work to states like Maharashtra and Kerala where Covid cases are high and to avoid RT-PCR tests on return, they use other routes to enter the city. This is complicating the situation.
“They are travelling via Delhi, Chennai and cities in other states to enter Bengaluru to avoid Covid-19 tests,” Cholan said. He said residents and RWAs must cooperate or else controlling the spread in apartment complexes will be difficult.
However, Srikanth N, general secretary, Bengaluru Apartment Federation, said apartments are not sole contributors to increasing cases. “Conducting random testing in apartments is not the way to go. The department of health should make a strict guideline on who should be tested and how many times residents in apartments should be tested, else it leads to confusion,” Srikanth said. However, certain restrictions in the apartments are accepted but guidelines are a must, he added.