How Centre’s smart cities command centres are monitoring Covid-19 hotspots
The Centre has begun using integrated command and control centres designed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led smart cities mission for surveillance and monitoring of Covid-19 affected districts across states.
States have converted the smart cities command centres into ‘war rooms’ for real time data monitoring using the central data dashboard to provide up-to-date information about the status of coronavirus cases in different administrative zones of their cities, officials aware of the development said. The war rooms are also being used for tracking people under quarantine and suspected cases.
States with highest reported Covid-19 positive cases, say, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh among others are using the command centres for CCTV Surveillance of public places, geographic information system (GIS) mapping of coronavirus positive cases, GPS tracking of healthcare workers.
“Centre is coordinating with the states through our central command centre at Nirman Bhawan in New Delhi. States are also using it for predictive analytics (Heat Maps) for virus containment across different zones of the city. We are also doing real-time tracking of ambulances and disinfection services,” a senior government official said.
The Centre is using Smart Cities for collaborating with the district administration, district police and city administration to monitor the suspected cases of COVID-19. Centre aims to use smart infrastructure for developing predictive analytics using heat maps and taking action in monitoring the movements (using geo-fencing) as well as periodic health status of suspected cases.
“States are also using it for providing virtual training to doctors and healthcare professionals, providing medical services through video conferencing, tele-counselling and tele-medicines. Leveraging this technology, Smart Cities are collaborating with medical practitioners in the city to provide online medical consultation facilities to citizens. The guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in collaboration with NITI Aayog and the Indian Medical Council, allow doctors to write prescriptions based on telephonic, textual or video conversations — chat, images, messaging or emails. People certified medical practitioners without the need to go out of the house, reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread,” the official said.
“All the operators are given daily tasks to monitor quarantine citizens, passengers who came from abroad recently and resolve general queries regarding Covid-19,” the official added.
This comes at a time when the Centre is mulling to resume movement and commercial activity in districts with no coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases. In an interaction with chief ministers on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the states to formulate a “common exit strategy” to ensure “staggered re-emergence of the population” once the lockdown ended.
The empowered group on COVID 19, led by Niti Aayog, is also seeking support from international organisations like the WHO and the UN for providing technical support in monitoring and surveillance systems. According to officials aware of the development, a meeting of the empowered group with the UN is also scheduled Tuesday.
Monitoring at state level
In Maharashtra, the highest affected state with 868 reported cases thus far, local administrations like the Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) has collaborated with Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to develop an integrated data dashboard. “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 were diagnosed positive with COVID-19 infection,” an official said.
Using heat-mapping technologies and predictive analytics, the city administration is developing a containment plan and the containment zones get reflected on the dashboard. The healthcare operations at the city’s Naidu Infectious Disease Hospital are tracked at this facility. The Smart City’s integrated dashboard also monitors the quarantine facilities and tracks the health of suspected patients and their contacts placed under home quarantine.
Tamil Nadu, with 621 reported COVID 19 positive cases, has deployed a team of doctors at the integrated command centres to monitor 250 people under quarantine each.
“In Chennai, 25 doctors are engaged in ICCC, they had given 250 quarantine people each to guide their counterparts and give them moral and psychological support. They will also refer necessary medicines, if required. In Vellore, 118 suspects are mapped with individual health experts for advice. The contact details and medical history are shared and necessary advice given to the suspects,” the official said.
In the smart cities of Uttar Pradesh the command centres are being used for tracking health services across the state. The state has 308 positive cases thus far.
“In centres like Kanpur Smart City, Aligarh, Varanasi etc itracking of health services from the ICCC is being done. Telemedicine is offered through video conferencing facilities launched by the city administrations. In Aligarh, Doctors are deployed at Aligarh Smart City Integrated Command and Control Center (ICCC) during 11- 8 pm to enable telemedicine and video conferencing facility through a dedicated Whatsapp number,” the official said.
Madhya Pradesh has also deployed a team of doctors at the command centres for counselling and monitoring. The state has 256 positive reported cases thus far.
In Bhopal, the integrated command and control centre (ICCC) is being used as a helpline and tele-counselling centre for citizens. Medical officers are stationed at ICCC in different shifts to assist during any situation. “In Ujjain smart city centre, two doctors are stationed at the centre for 24 hours duration to take video conferencing/ telephone calls from the citizens and give appropriate advice based on the symptoms. Forty Medical Mobile Units (MMU) are operationalized to distribute medicines to people based on prescriptions by doctors. In Jabalpur, dedicated Rapid Response Team (RRT) and Mobile Action Unit (MAU) are present on ground ward-wise who coordinate with officials present at ICCC regarding screening, ambulance, quarantine etc.” the official said.
Medical teams are stationed at the command centres to provide any immediate medical attention to through the helpline. “Trained professionals resolve the queries raised by citizens at an initial level and these calls are then connected with a designated doctor. This counselling process is reducing the panic among citizens/callers. The doubtful citizens are being encouraged to consult a doctor,” the official said.
In Gujarat’s Gandhinagar smart city contact details of grocery stores for all sectors are also provided. The Surat Municipal Corporation has published an online dashboard for providing the overall statistics on tested, confirmed, active, recovered and death cases, the dashboard provides the trends and patterns on the spread of COVID-19 within city, in terms of cumulative cases (each day), number of new confirmed cases reported, age-wise distribution of cases, zone-wise distribution and gender-wise distribution. Spatial mapping of affected areas is also being provided.
The first lot of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s ambitious Smart Cities Mission, aimed at developing 100 citizen-friendly and self-sustainable urban settlements, will be measurable only by 2021, when the first 20 of them are completed. Under the mission, setting up of integrated command and control centres (ICCC) for each city is a vital step. The ICCCs are designed to enable authorities to monitor the status of various amenities in real time. It was initially aimed to control and monitor online water and power supply, sanitation, traffic movement, integrated building management, city connectivity and Internet infrastructure.