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Coronavirus war rooms: Integrated Command and Control Centres in smart cities

CCTV cameras, GIS technology accessed through the command and control centres are being used to keep tabs on movement of citizens and those quarantined during the lockdown period in Varanasi, Pune and Bengaluru

Smart cities Varanasi, Pune, Surat, Bengaluru and Tumakuru are using the Integrated Command and Control Centres to keep tabs on people who have been quarantined during the lockdown and to provide up-to-date information about the status of coronavirus in different administrative zones of their cities, ministry of housing and urban affairs officials said.

As COVID-19 War Rooms, the ICCCs are undertaking CCTV surveillance of public places, GIS Mapping of COVID positive cases, GPS tracking of healthcare workers, predictive analytics (heat maps) for virus containment across different zones of the city, imparting virtual training to doctors and healthcare professionals, real-time tracking of ambulances and disinfection services, medical services through video conferencing, tele-counselling and even tele-medicine, they said.

In Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency of Varanasi, geographic information system (GIS) technology is being used to map quarantined cases and keep tab on people quarantined at home.

"Through hi-tech CCTV cameras and GPS monitoring, a strict vigil is being maintained across Varanasi during the ongoing 21-day lockdown period and on people who have been either quarantined at government facilities or home quarantined," Varanasi Municipal Commissioner Gaurang Rathi told Moneycontrol.

There are 400 CCTV cameras installed at 162 locations, he said.


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The GPS locator on the vehicles allows the ICCC to track and plot the movement and of its quick response teams that includes sanitisation workers spread across 1,190 km of road length.

“We have GIS maps of all residential units in Varanasi. Through base maps that we recently developed, we have information on everyone who has been advised home quarantine from the departments. Staff deputed at our call centres make calls to residents based on a daily roster who have returned from abroad and have been advised home quarantine which is cross verified by administration through the police department.

“To be doubly sure of the location, we even ask them to make a video call to us and enquire about whether they are following the protocols laid out for them,” he said.

People who have been quarantined in government facilities are being tracked through CCTV cameras installed on site. “The sensor routers allow us to get the direct feed at the command and control centre,” he said.

“We are also providing counselling services to people who have been quarantined at government facilities. We have a team of psychologists visiting them and counselling them as they are away from home and have a tendency to get depressed,” he said, adding this is also available remotely through tele-counselling sessions.

Varanasi war room

The city has also developed a COVID-19 Safe Kashi App where residents can receive live updates on anything to do with coronavirus, information on the number of residents who has been quarantined, home quarantined or have been kept in isolation and even those who have recovered. The App also provides information on orders passed by the local government, the general dos and don’ts to be followed by the public during the pandemic. Residents can also get in touch with doctors through the App and get an e-pass issued in case of an emergency. They can also report suspected cases and any instances of hoarding through the App.

COVID-19 pandemic LIVE updates

Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) has collaborated with Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to develop an integrated data dashboard in the city’s efforts to fight the global pandemic. Each case of the city has been mapped using geo-spatial information systems and city administration is monitoring the areas and creating buffer zones where patients have been diagnosed with the infection, officials said.

Pune war room

Using heat-mapping technologies and predictive analytics, the city administration will be developing a containment plan and the containment zones will get reflected on the dashboard. The healthcare operations at the city’s Naidu Infectious Disease Hospital are being tracked at this facility. The Smart City’s integrated dashboard has also been monitoring the quarantine facilities and tracking the health of suspected patients and their contacts placed under home quarantine, they said.

“We are using the Geospatial Information System for tracking and monitoring the areas and creating buffer zones where patients are diagnosed positive with the COVID-19 infection. This helps to implement the containment plan as per government guidelines.

"All the COVID positive patients have been tracked and we have created a buffer and containment zone spread across a kilometre from their place of residence. Our teams are also conducting door-to-door visits. Our GPS app can track people if they get out of the house and break protocol. Cameras on the streets are being used for crowd management and ensuring full compliance of lockdown. We are also providing video conferencing facilities to doctors and giving them mass training,” Rubal Agarwal, CEO- Pune Smart City told Moneycontrol.

Coronavirus testing centres near you

The Surat Municipal Corporation has published an online dashboard on its municipal website to provide regular updates to the citizens. The dashboard also provides the trends and patterns on the spread of COVID-19 within city

In Bengaluru and Tumakuru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has set up a ‘war room’ and is using the dashboard to conduct surveillance on people within 8-km radius of any confirmed patient, so as to contain the spread of the virus. The Municipal Corporation of Bengaluru has also been publishing a daily bulletin on the cases.

Bengaluru 2

In Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike or the BBMP’s integrated command and control centre has been functioning as a war room for COVID 19 since March 22.

“We have created heat maps where we identified critical and less critical zones in the city. The Karnataka state government has introduced an app called the Quarantine Watch and we have access to reports on residents’ movement being generated through the App. Our field officers are also keeping tabs on around 20,000 people who have been stamped after returning from abroad and are in home quarantine. This information has been updated on our database,” Hephsiba Rani Korlapati, MD - Bengaluru Smart City Corporation Limited, Karnataka, told Moneycontrol.

Bengaluru war zone 2

The Bengaluru Smart City Corporation Limited is also in the process of developing an App that would provide real time data on COVID facilities available in hospitals, at isolation locations and availability of equipment such as personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ventilators etc. We are also monitoring the availability of ambulances in the city. We will be going live with real time data soon,” she told Moneycontrol.

The Smart Cities Mission was launched on June 25, 2015. The first list of 20 cities announced on January 28, 2016. A fast-track list of 13 cities was announced four months later. The second list of 27 cities was announced on September 20 2016. The third list of 30 cities was announced on June 23, 2017 and the final list was announced in January 2018.

Under the mission, the Centre allocates Rs 500 crore to each of the cities for implementing projects proposed by it. This amount is matched with a grant of the same amount by the respective state.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Vandana Ramnani
first published: Apr 7, 2020 07:54 am

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