"Not Berlin Wall": Karnataka Minister On Barricading Containment Zones

Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar says only temporary barriers would be used to demarcate containment zones under the new rules. Statement was in reference to Bengaluru civic body officials shuttering the exit of two flats with Covid patients inside.

Demarcation around a containment zone should be temporary, Karnataka minister Dr K Sudhakar said. (File)

Bengaluru:

A day after the Karnataka government redefined containment zones to better monitor the spread of coronavirus, state Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar has said only temporary barriers would be used to demarcate the zone.

The minister's statement was an assurance in reference to the viral images of Bengaluru civic body officials shuttering the exit of two flats with coronavirus patients and their families inside.

"The new guidelines on containment zones are clear that this is not acceptable. The demarcation should be temporary, a notional barrier to show that a house or an area is a containment zone. It is not a Berlin Wall," Dr Sudhakar told NDTV.

According to Thursday's notification redefining containment zones - of which Bengaluru has over 16,000 active ones - authorities must paste a notice outside the residence of a Covid-positive individual and inform the neighbours, and, where applicable, the RWA or an apartment owners' association.

With total coronavirus infection in Bengaluru hovering around the one lakh mark, and with even a single house in Bengaluru being treated as containment zone by the civic body, BBMP, Dr Sudhakar said such categorisation makes surveillance "practically impossible".

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"Karnataka has 80,000 active cases; Bangalore alone has made about 16,000 containment zones. It is beyond practical to handle such numbers. We have told the BBMP that the number of containment zones should be decreased so surveillance becomes feasible and rules can be implemented strictly. It should be easy for the task force committee to go and do surveys," he told NDTV.

Reassuring people that there are enough Covid care beds available in hospitals despite the rising number of coronavirus cases, Dr Sudhakar said, "For the past 10-12 days, we have had surplus coronavirus beds in hospitals and Covid Care centres. About 70-75 per cent of the new patients are asymptomatic; they are being isolated at home and medically monitored. That has really taken the burden off hospitals and COVID care centers."

It is a pleasant surprise for the government also, he said.