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Marketplaces driving new Covid infections in Bengaluru: BBMP

Palike epidemiologists conducting surveys of new cases are coming up with other market connections as well
Last Updated : 29 July 2021, 01:58 IST
Last Updated : 29 July 2021, 01:58 IST
Last Updated : 29 July 2021, 01:58 IST
Last Updated : 29 July 2021, 01:58 IST

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Civic officials are finding that a major chunk of people newly infected with Covid-19 has had a recent connection with a physical market.

The issue was highlighted after the discovery of six clusters at C V Raman Nagar (Ward 57) in Bengaluru, comprising about 25 to 27 positive cases, where many of the infected cases had a history of movement to local markets, according to D Randeep, Special Commissioner (Health), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Palike epidemiologists conducting surveys of new cases are coming up with other market connections as well.

“When we check the case information sheet (of new cases) we see contacts saying they developed symptoms after movement to a market. Consequently, we are trying to go back and check the market areas,” Randeep explained.

However, monitoring markets in the city has become a thorny proposition for the BBMP due to manpower limitations. It has been forced to concentrate its efforts on the larger and old markets, such as KR and Kalasipalya markets, plus the ones at Madiwala and Yeshwantpur. This means that localised markets such as those in Thippasandra and Malleshpalya are getting less attention.

“We have 54 teams, each with four marshalls operational across 27 divisions of the city. There are two teams per division, one of which operates from 6 am to 2 pm and the other from 2 pm to 8 pm. The ground that these teams have to cover is large and not all areas can be covered,” explained Colonel (retired) Rajbir Singh, chief marshal, BBMP.

The issue has come when the number of Covid-19 cases in the city this past week was slightly higher than in the preceding week — a development which has upset a 10-week trend of decline. In the last seven days, 2,731 cases were found, as opposed to 2,728 cases the week before.

Randeep, however, specified that not all markets in the city are known to be driving infections. “In KR market, for instance, we have not come across a case where there is a clear connection to market visitation and nothing else,” he said.

Increasing mobility

Mobility data from Google shows upward trends in visits to markets, recreational areas and malls in Bengaluru Urban, in the wake of Unlock 3.0. On June 11, two days before Unlock 1.0, public visitations to retail and recreation locations were down by 73% and visitations to supermarkets and pharmacies were down by 36%. By July 24, however, visitations to these locations were down by only 40% and 10% respectively.

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Published 28 July 2021, 18:58 IST

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