This Bengaluru zone's Covid situation raises alarm

Bommanahalli battles Covid-19 cases driven by migrant population

Zonal officials have attributed the rise in cases to migrant workers, from both blue and white-collar jobs

The situation had prompted the zone to issue an internal circular in light of "concern over the third wave and rising Covid-19 cases", on August 2. Credit: DH File Photo/S K Dinesh

Interstate migrant workers are contributing to a rise in Covid-19 cases in Bengaluru's sprawling Bommanahalli zone. Over the last 10 days, an increase in test positivity rate has triggered concerns among zonal officials, whose problems have been compounded by the discovery of a person infected with the Delta+ sub-variant of the novel coronavirus, who has subsequently gone missing.

Data from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) shows that the zone’s test positivity rate increased by 0.1% in the last 10 days, even as eight out of the zone’s 16 wards began showing higher caseloads (of 30 and above). Begur (Ward 192) appears to be the worst affected. BBMP data shows that it had registered 50 to 100 cases in the last few days.

Zonal officials have attributed the rise in cases to migrant workers, from both blue and white-collar jobs, such as construction labourers, business people and healthcare workers coming from Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. “A majority have an interstate travel connection. Many are healthcare workers,” an official said.

The situation had prompted the zone to issue an internal circular in light of "concern over the third wave and rising Covid-19 cases", on August 2. The circular focused on containment at apartment complexes and stressed surveillance measures such as reporting and tracking people with travel history.

M Ramakrishna, joint commissioner for the zone, pointed out that while the number of cases has not necessarily increased, as they have in other zones such as R R Nagar and Yelahanka, there is nevertheless a concern.

The zone’s Covid-19 problems persist despite a high vaccination rate. "All of the 2.5 lakh target population aged 45 and above have been vaccinated," Ramakrishna said. "In fact, first dose vaccinations of this group have reached 104% — we have also vaccinated visitors who were not part of the original target population count. Of the 3.5 lakh target population in the 18-44 age group, 38% have got the first dose."

Zonal officials did not have information about second dose vaccination rates on hand.

The zone’s problems have been heightened by the inability of officials to trace a missing patient suffering from the Delta+ variant.

"The man’s address given at the time of his testing was incorrect and his phone number has since been turned off. He has become completely untraceable. His case has been referred to the police," Ramakrishna said.

Not much is known about the case except that he is a 32-year-old who had been admitted to a hospital with symptoms on July 15. He had subsequently discharged himself after 14 days. There are fears that he and his contacts (who are not yet known) have spread the virus further.

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