Barely a couple of months ago, three localities in Bengaluru — Padarayanapura, Shivajinagar and Hongasandra — seemed on the verge of becoming examples of community transmission of Covid-19, but now, thanks to unstinting work on the ground by frontline warriors, all three have zero positive cases.
Shivajinagar reported its last positive case on May 5, Hongasandra on May 15 and Padarayanapura on May 22. However, the localities still remain containment zones as a preventive measure.
A senior BBMP official said stringent monitoring and residents’ responsible behaviour successfully helped contain the spread of the virus.
Padarayanapura was the first locality to see a spike in cases after five TablighiJamaat attendees tested positive. The five had stayed in a single building and with cases multiplying, Padarayanapura was sealed off. People were not allowed to step out of their homes and essentials were supplied at their doorstep.
“Initially the number of cases was very few in Padarayanpura, but as days passed they multiplied, spreading fear among residents,” said West Zone joint commissioner Chidanand N, under whose jurisdiction Padarayanapura falls.
“With Padarayanapura being a predominantly Muslim locality, we spoke to religious leaders and asked them to help us spread awareness on the importance of social distancing,” Chidanand said, adding: “The fear psychosis too helped us in a way. There were very few violations.”
Random sample tests were conducted on at least 1,200 people, with the focus on pregnant women and senior citizens. “We ensured everyone who might be a possible Covid patient was tested and only 81 tested positive,” an official added.
Vishvesvaraya Layout in Hongasandra followed in the footsteps of Padarayanapura. The cluster outbreak began with a 54-year-old migrant labourer from Bihar testing positive for an infection. He had interacted with 153 people, passing on the virus to 50 of them.
“The spread was largely among the contacts of just one person,” Bommanahalli joint commissioner M Ramakrishna said. “Contact tracing was easy. The man lived in a tiny, cramped house and community members were prompt in cooperating with us,”
He went on to say, “We sealed an entire street where all these people lived. Fortunately, they hadn’t moved out much as they were getting ration kits during the lockdown. Else, we would have seen over 200 cases in Hongasandra alone.”
Hongasandra’s first Covid-19 patient was cured and has returned to his village in Bihar.
Barely had the scare in Hongasandra come off the boil when an outbreak erupted in Shivajinagar. A housekeeper worker in a quarantine centre turned positive. Seventy others who lived in the same building as his in Chandini Chowk also tested positive within days.
“People were worried about their health and did not venture out, unlike other areas. Social distancing was adhered to in the area,” a health official said.
Chief health officer B Vijayendra said, “The three localities contributed 184 cases in the city, but we have been able to stop the virus in its tracks. None of these localities have reported a single case even after the lockdown was lifted. Fear of the virus has made people very cautious.”