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Amid Praise of Bengaluru Model, Concern Over Rising Cases With Unknown Source as Flu Adds to Confusion

Image for representation. (Reuters)

Image for representation. (Reuters)

However, amid the adulation, there is a growing concern for the state government over the huge spike in number of cases since the reopening of the inter-state borders and the new cases with no travel history or primary or secondary contacts of existing patients.

Niti Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, on Saturday lauded the Karnataka government for its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus by aggressive contact-tracing and large scale testing.

In a tweet, Kant appreciated the Bengaluru administration for tracing up to 47 contacts per patient in comparison to Delhi’s 2.1. The increased testing of patients with influenza-like-illness (ILI), as well as, Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) has largely helped in keeping the numbers low per million population than other metros.

In fact, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar went on to compare the Bengaluru model to that of New Zealand, a country that has declared itself coronavirus free.

However, amid the adulation, there is a growing concern for the Yediyurappa government over the huge spike in number of cases since the reopening of the inter-state borders. But what is more worrying is the fact that the new cases reported aren't necessarily people with a travel history nor primary or secondary contacts of existing positive cases. While the source of infection for many cases is still under investigation, so far, 83 patients have been admitted with ILI, whereas 34 with SARI among the 648 positive cases in Bengaluru city.

As on Saturday, Karnataka reported 308 new cases, out of which 31 were from Bengaluru Urban, taking the total number of positive cases in the IT city to 648 with 29 deaths. Karnataka has reported a total of 6,824 and 81 deaths so far.

"This is the season for cases of flu, so there is confusion between seasonal flu and COVID-19 infection. Hence, we are ensuring that the two are distinguished and taking appropriate steps by taking into account the census of all the SARI and ILI. We are sending our teams to individual houses to get information in advance,” Sudhakar told CNN-News18.

The increasing number of cases also implies to rise in containment zones in the city. As of June 10, within the BBMP limits, the number of containment zones has seen a three-fold increase in the last 10 days, with 116 active zones identified. On June 1, this was just 36.

Earlier, containment zones would cover the entire ward or 1 km radius surrounding area of an infected person’s house. Now, the revised definition confines it to only the particular house and hence the huge spike in zones, the minister clarified.

Karnataka Deputy CM, Ashwathnarayan, said that limiting the containment zones to a mere 50 metres would ensure that economic activities would continue to function. "The containment areas are not too big and will hardly make much of a difference. It is only where people live in high density, or slum or colonies where the density becomes challenging. But in Bengaluru's residential area, where each house has adequate spacing between each other, I don't think we will face much of a challenge," he said.