The city has had a total of 21,863 containment zones, including 13,494 which are active as of Saturday. As the number of such zones are increasing by the day, many citizens and residents’ welfare associations want the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to reassess what falls within such a zone. The highest number of active containment zones is in the South zone at 4,100, while Dasarahalli zone has the least at 363.
Residents pointed out that they have to endure much hardship and inconvenience when a positive case is detected in their locality or apartment block, and want the civic body to instead enforce home quarantine of affected families more strictly.
A resident who lived in the containment zone said her house was sealed after her neighbour tested positive for COVID-19. “Around five houses on our road were sealed and we were not able to go outside even to get groceries. The civic body did not supply them to us. After a few days, one of the residents in our area broke the seal and ensured that there was space for one person to step out to buy essentials,” said the resident who was living in a containment zone for two weeks in Basaveshwaranagar.
As of Saturday, there were as many as 13,494 containment zones in the city, as per the BBMP war room data. Many of the containment zones have been unsealed after no fresh COVID-19 cases were detected.
Currently, a containment zone within the BBMP limits is part of the street if a case is detected in an independent house. If a case is detected in an apartment then, the containment zone is that particular floor where the person tested positive resides as well as the immediate floors above and below. If a case is detected in a slum, areas sealed include the street of the affected residence and the immediate street on either side.
Residents pointed out that with the rising number of cases, maintaining such containment zones for a fortnight is not feasible. With 1,852 new COVID-19 positive cases reported on Saturday in Bengaluru Urban, the total numbers of cases stands at 57,396.
A member of Whitefield Rising said that with the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, there was a need for a better rationale to seal down communities. “You cannot close down a community. There is a need for better monitoring of home quarantine in the residence when a person is tested positive,” the member said.
Many RWAs also told The Hindu that local officials at the ground were not strictly complying with the definition. They said that in some instances, officials continued to follow the old definition of containment zones and were sealing an entire block of an apartment if a positive case was reported. Following this, many residents in containment zones are vacating their houses and are choosing to live with relatives or friends until the seal is lifted.
A senior BBMP official said that they were mulling over the idea of reducing the size of the containment zone in apartments and individual houses. “In slums as there is almost no space in the dwellings, we had decided to retain the definition but want the size of the containment zone to be reduced in individual houses and flats,” the official said.