Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa on Saturday said that while the lockdown would continue in the state, as a measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, it will also be relaxed over the next couple of weeks.
“We must not compromise on lockdown and we are receiving suggestions for another 15 days,” the chief minister’s office said in a statement, attributing it to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The prime minister addressed the chief ministers of all states on Saturday to gather information on lifting the lockdown across the country after 21-days on 14 April.
“In the next 15 days we will relax the lockdown in a graded manner,” the CMO said in a statement,attributing it to the PM.
However, the centre is expected to send more guidelines on details of the staggered lifting of the lockdown.
The decision comes when there has been a large number of cases have been reported across the country and in some pockets of Karnataka.
Eight people tested positive in the state for covid -19 on Saturday,taking the total to 215 that includes 39 discharges and six deaths.
“Government has identified 142 hotpots and PM directed to manage these hotspots,” Yediyurappa said in a statement.
Bengaluru accounts for 73 cases while Mysuru accounts for 47 cases. Two localities or wards in Bengaluru–about 40,000 people–have been sealed shut by the district authorities. But rumours and unverified information on social media about more localities being sealed added to panic.
“Dear citizens, there are no plans to #sealdown any other area in #Bengaluru. Pls do not heed to any rumours. @BlrCityPolice are strictly enforcing #lockdown by barricading roads in Kodigehalli, Vidyaranyapura & Horamavu & all over city to stop citizens moving around in vehicles,” B.H.Anil Kumar,the commissioner of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP, the city’s civic body) said.
S.Suresh Kumar, Karnataka’s primary and secondary education minister said that fishing and processing has been opened to allow a major economic activity in the three coastal districts of the state to operate.
Agriculture has also been exempted to allow farmers to start sowing crops.
At least 12 districts in Karnataka have remained free of the coronavirus and the state government had considered lifting restrictions in these districts earlier.
Government Offices will be allowed to work with partial strength.
Kumar said that there will be no inter-district or inter-state transport operation of bus services.
An expert committee, led by cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty, has suggested to the state government that air conditioned buses also not be operational and also not allow metro rail. The expert committee also has asked technology companies and other corporations to operate with around 50% strength and that the lockdown be continued in the hotspots.
Kumar said that the police in Bengaluru will increase securities at its checkposts across the city. A total of 24,000 vehicles have been seized so far in the city.