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BBMP failing to meet Covid-19 testing targets due to people's reluctance: N Manjunatha Prasad

The civic body could invoke the Disaster Management Act on those refusing, but it does not want to file cases that carry one-year imprisonment
uraksha P
Last Updated : 14 March 2021, 20:18 IST
Last Updated : 14 March 2021, 20:18 IST
Last Updated : 14 March 2021, 20:18 IST
Last Updated : 14 March 2021, 20:18 IST

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Though the health minister and the BBMP commissioner have vowed to test 40,000 people for Covid-19 every day, the civic body is only doing a little more than 37,000 tests a day.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad blamed the shortfall on the reluctance of people to get tested. The civic body could invoke the Disaster Management Act on those refusing, but it does not want to file cases that carry one-year imprisonment. Instead, it wants to convince them, Prasad told DH.

The civic body is carrying out targeted testing at malls, restaurants and markets. In these places, employees are reluctant since even one of them testing positive could result in others getting quarantined, resulting in a loss of wages.

Preventing new clusters

To prevent the emergence of more clusters, the State Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee on March 1 recommended to the Karnataka government to carry out compulsory fortnightly testing of workers in pubs, garment factories, offices and shopkeepers, besides those working in closed spaces and crowded areas, tourism spots, long-term care facilities like old-age homes and dementia centres.

As opposed to the previous testing of at least 10 contacts for every positive case, the committee has increased the tracing by 1:20 of all high-risk contacts. “On March 8, 37,517 tests were done. We will do 3,000 more tests per day,” Prasad said.

“It must be targeted testing: primary, secondary, ILI and SARI cases. Everyone visiting private medical establishments for cough, cold, fever or ILI symptoms must be tested, and these establishments should give us the list of people so that we can send our staff to their houses or to places where they can be tested. Getting reports from them is a task.”

The commissioner said the civic body was working hard to convince workers at restaurants and other food handlers reluctant to get tested and the same was the case with people at public places like malls.

“We can proceed legally, but we’d like to try convincing them instead,” Prasad said. “As per the Disaster Management Act, if we file cases, the punishment is up to one year imprisonment. We wouldn’t like to do that.”

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Published 14 March 2021, 19:34 IST

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