Principal Secretary of Revenue Department N. Manjunath Prasad took charge as Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner on Saturday at a time when the pandemic has a firm grip on the city.

Divisional management of COVID-19 is the key to effective management of the pandemic, said Mr. Prasad, who replaces B.H. Anil Kumar as civic commissioner.

Currently, the management of COVID-19 cases is being done at the zonal level, but Mr. Prasad is of the view that management will be more effective if it is taken up at the divisional (Assembly constituency) level. One KAS official would be made in-charge of each of the 27 divisions in the city, he told The Hindu. These divisions will have their own control rooms and adequate resources.

Ramping up the fleet of ambulances as well as manpower is also high on the list of priorities. “Already two ambulances have been given to each ward. We can ramp up infrastructure and manpower wherever required,” he said and admitted that the delivery mechanism at the zonal level was not up to the mark.

Soon after taking charge, Mr. Prasad said he visited the BBMP war room and met senior officials. “I tried to understand the systems already in place and where we are going wrong,” he said.

He added that one of the first things that needs to be set right is getting complete contact details of all those who have given their samples for testing in the 70-odd laboratories in the city.

“The lack of complete contact details is making it difficult for us to trace those who have tested positive. This is crucial, as we need to inform them and shift them, if required, to either COVID-19 Care Centres (CCC) or hospitals,” he said.

Directions will be issued to all laboratories to collect complete contact details of those who are coming for tests.

Asymptomatic cases

The BBMP will give priority to home isolation for asymptomatic patients.

“If they have access to a separate bedroom and attached bath, we will suggest home isolation. People may feel comfortable in their homes,” said Mr. Prasad, adding that officials were forcing those who have tested positive to get admitted in COVID-19 Care Centres. “This is unnecessary and results in blocking of beds, depriving the facility to those in need,” he said.

Mr. Prasad also pointed out that though the war room was analysing a host of information and coming out with reports and inferences, there was little action on this data. “We will use this data for effective decision-making,” he added.

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