BENGALURU: Frontline workers in Karnataka have been asked to mentally prepare themselves to handle the Covid-19 crisis for the next six months. Revenue Minister R Ashoka, who has temporarily been handed charge of Covid management in Bengaluru, on Monday said that in keeping with the global trend, Karnataka and Bengaluru will see a spike in Coronavirus cases in July-August. He attributed the prediction to an expert committee report.
He admitted that increased spread of infection, and not just stepped-up testing, is causing the spike. Asked if the state is mulling more stringent lockdown measures, he said that CM B S Yediyurappa will take a decision after July 7 as the government does not want to inconvenience SSLC students. Following a meeting, Yediyurappa convinced private hospitals to transfer 50% of beds to the government, which expects to get 2,000 additional beds for Covid treatment. A five-member team, headed by Political Secretary to CM S R Vishwanath, will coordinate with private hospitals. The team will include two IAS officers, Tushar Girinath and Pankaj Kumar Pandey, and two members of Private Hospitals And Nursing Homes’ Association -- Dr R Ravindra and Dr Nagendra Swamy.
“Beds in all private and government hospitals set aside for Covid treatment will be numbered. We will link bed numbers to patient numbers, and when a patient is discharged we can track the availability of beds real time. All the staff have been told to wear name and designation badges. All staffers, including doctors, have to log their duty time,” he said. The government is also thinking of services increasing the salaries of frontline workers.
Ashoka announced a contingency plan for Bengaluru that included setting up a 20-bed ICU facility at Shantinagar Hospital, scaling up beds in isolation centres and Covid care centres, allowing Victoria Hospital to hire six ambulances for the next six months, hiring 85 AYUSH and Dental doctors as assistants on contract basis for BBMP, deputing newly appointed tahsildars of the Revenue Department to oversee setting up of new hospitals and facilities as observers, allotting two hearses for each zone, identifying and authorising 10 NGO workers in each ward to help shift positive persons to designated centres, sanitisation of localities and awareness programs.
On Monday, the Revenue Department passed orders deputing 64 probationary tahsildars to BBMP. Ashoka said that Girinath will be in charge of bed allotment, while Rajendra Kumar Kataria will take care of Covid bed centre. A meeting of Bengaluru corporators will also be called at the BBMP headquarters. “The corporators will be made responsible for supply of food, essentials etc to residences or roads sealed in each ward,” he said.