The Karnataka government has made arrangements for beds, ambulances to tackle the rapid growth in the coronavirus numbers in Bengaluru, and people need not panic, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa assured residents on Monday. He said people will have to learn to live with the virus as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi weeks ago.
"I would like to tell the people of Bengaluru that we have made preparations. We already have organised 450 additional ambulances. There is no need to panic," he said.
"We have to live with this virus. Cooperate with the government and we can control it. Be cautious and cooperate with the government. Your life is important. Hospital beds are being arranged. A COVID-Care centre with more than 10,000 beds is ready," he added.
Bengaluru, which was being praised for its exceptional COVID-19 management until weeks ago, has suffered a sudden surge of cases. Till Sunday, the Karnataka capital had 8,345 coronavirus cases out of which 7,250 were active. 129 people have died of the disease so far.
To break the chain of transmission, the government had announced that comprehensive lockdown will be imposed across Karnataka on Sundays. Bengaluru was shut down for 33 hours - from Saturday 8 pm to Monday 5 am.
Apart from ramping up testing, the state government is focusing on bolstering the city's health infrastructure as part of its COVID-19 strategy. The government on Saturday informed that over 3,000 beds have been reserved in private hospitals for coronavirus infected patients. A make-shift COVID-care facility with over 10,000 beds is also coming up at a convention centre on the outskirts of the city.
"Across Bengaluru, 3,331 beds have been reserved in 72 hospitals for treating coronavirus patients. By Saturday evening, 733 beds were occupied and 2,598 beds were unoccupied," the Medical Education Minister, DK Sudhakar, had tweeted.
The upcoming COVID facility will have at least 150 doctors to take care of patients, the government said.
But the reality is - the hunt for hospital beds, the long waits for ambulances, appeals from doctors means there is no room for any complacency.