Don’t be surprised if BBMP health officials accost you while walking down to a department store and ask you to go to the nearest mobile health centre or the primary health centre for Covid-19 testing. The BBMP and the Health Department have decided to take up random testing drives in wards where the positivity rate is higher than the state average and the number of Covid-19 cases are on the rise.
Such a trend has been observed in Shivajinagar ward and CBD areas where the footfall is high. Based on the ward-wise data on the number of cases, similar aggressive random Covid-19 testing will be taken up. The BBMP’s zonal and joint commissioners have been entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out this task.
According to BBMP records, in Shivajinagar ward, on an average, 450 positive cases are being reported daily since the last two weeks and the positivity rate is around 25- 30 per cent. This is much higher than the state average of 13- 14 per cent. According to the ICMR guidelines, the average should be under 10 per cent.
“Apart from making testing compulsory for ILI and SARI cases, those with comorbidities and primary and secondary contacts, we are also making it compulsory for those in commercial areas to get themselves tested. Also, depending on the number of cases, testing is being made aggressive in wards where many cases are reported. More testing will help in early detection of cases,” said BBMP Special Commissioner (Health), Rajendra Cholan.
Another official explained that testing has been intensified in Shivajinagar, J C Road, Commercial Street and other such pockets because of the lack of social distancing, not wearing masks, violation of health and hygiene rules and because of the heavy footfall.
“Many are opposing the initiative, with some even terming it as harassment. But they do not realise that it is for their own good. We are also working on setting up temporary testing clinics in such places. The rising number of cases needs to be reduced and aggressive testing is the way forward,” explained a senior BBMP official from Shivajinagar.