Even as the
of the extended lockdown is fast approaching, four of the eight zones under the Bruhat
Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits remain under watch. They have been recording close to four per cent positivity rate, a key indicator of the
of the coronavirus in some areas. Experts state that it is practically impossible to enforce zone-wise restrictions but they suggest higher testing and aggressive containment measures as the ways to stop the spread of the infection.
As per BBMP’s bulletin on Thursday, Mahadevapura at 5%, East at 4.8, RR Nagar at 4.7 and Bommanahalli also at 4.7% have the highest covid-19 positivity rate (as per Wednesday’s bulletin, Mahadevapura stood at 5.6%, RR Nagar at 5.4, East at 5.3 and Bommanahalli at 5.2%). Officials say this is a result of increase in daily tests and targeted testing.
“We have been aggressively testing the primary contacts and a sizable percentage is turning covid-19 positive. In one case, 13 primary contacts of a covid-19 patient in Mahadevapura had tested positive. We have come across many such cases,” said Manjula N, zonal in-charge of Mahadevapura.
Overall, the City has reported a positivity rate of 3.82%, which according to Chief Minister
, meets the target for relaxing lockdown restrictions. The
limits had hit the peak positivity rate of around 40 per cent at the end of April and the first week of May.
In these four wards that top the list with the highest positivity rate, Bommanahalli zone has been testing an average of 13,000 samples a day in the last ten days. Mahadevapura, East and RR Nagar are testing 9,500, 7,600 and 6,900 samples, respectively, a day.
On the other hand, South and West Zones – which have been testing around 7,500 samples a day – have reported a positivity rate of about 2.6 per cent. Yelahanka zone has been testing 8,500 samples a day and has reported a positivity rate of 3.5 per cent and Dasarahalli has the least number of daily tests (2,900) while the positivity rate is 2.6 per cent.
Officers who are on covid related duties in different wards also say that the positivity rate cannot be used to compare one zone to the other as many factors come into play.
, who is in charge of RR Nagar zone, said the positivity rate has ranged from 1 per cent to 5 per cent across 14 wards. “It is however practically very difficult to enforce zone or ward-wise restrictions or relaxations as a majority of the people need to travel for work,” he said. He suggested a graded lockdown would be the best choice as the decision on further relaxations can be taken based on the increase or decrease of covid cases.
Recently, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had said that the government would announce relaxations if the positivity rate falls below 5 per cent. Revenue Minister R Ashoka had said that complete restrictions would be lifted only when the new covid-19 cases fall below 500 a day.
Ideally, zone-wise restrictions should continue where test positivity is higher. However, this is very difficult to implement in Bengaluru as there is no clear demarcation of zones for functional purposes and practically impossible to restrict movement between zones
–Prof. Giridhara R Babu, epidemiologist
Meanwhile, Prof. Giridhara R Babu, an epidemiologist at the
suggested higher testing and aggressive containment measures will help zones with higher test positivity. “Ideally, zone-wise restrictions should continue where test positivity is higher. However, this is very difficult to implement in Bengaluru as there is no clear demarcation of zones for functional purposes and practically impossible to restrict movement between zones,” he said.
Sources said that all the zones have been instructed to conduct at least 50,000 to 60,000 tests a day. The City can test up to 1 lakh samples daily.