Covid-19: Karnataka to ease restrictions in phased manner, no unlock in one go, says minister
Covid-19 restrictions, currently in effect in Karnataka, would be relaxed in a graded manner in four or five phases starting from June 14, state revenue minister R Ashoka said on Wednesday. The existing lockdown is scheduled to end on June 14, after being extended for seven more days earlier on June 7.
“Keeping the number of deaths and new cases in mind and aimed at bringing down the Covid-19 infections further, lockdown will not be relaxed at one go. Home minister Basavaraj Bommai, health minister K Sudhakar and I have held detailed discussions with the chief minister in this regard,” news agency PTI quoted minister R Ashoka.
The minister said that relaxations to the Covid-19 restrictions in the state and the unlocking would be done in a phased manner. He also confirmed that the lockdown would not be lifted completely in one go and said that it might be done in four or five phases. “First will be timings, now the relaxation (for shopping) that is there between 6 to 10 am, it may get extended further. Also, those who go for a walk at parks may get some relief. All this is subjected to a final decision by the chief minister. Lockdown will not be relaxed at one go,” PTI further quoted Ashoka.
Ashoka, who is currently the vice-chairman of Karnataka state disaster management authority (KSDMA), also said that the daily new infections in Bengaluru is still hovering around the 2,000-mark every day and it should fall below the 500-mark for an unlock. “We will also have to keep in mind the rise in positive cases as we unlock,” he added. Responding to a question, he also said that many sectors which are currently operating under the work-from-home scheme would continue to do so, while some other sectors like the medicine and medicine equipment manufacturers have already been given certain exemptions, the PTI report showed.
Meanwhile, state health minister Dr K Sudhakar also denied any possibility that the restrictions would be lifted in one go. “As per experts' opinion, if [the] positivity rate is less than 5% and cases are less than 5,000, curbs can be lifted. There is no confusion on lifting restrictions. Other states like Maharashtra, have opened up only after reduction in cases. If you compare with other states, the second wave has relatively subdued quickly in our state,” he said. However, both ministers affirmed that all decisions would be taken and announced by chief minister BS Yediyurappa after consulting with experts.
According to a bulletin from the state health department on Wednesday, 10,959 new Covid-19 cases were identified in Karnataka in the last 24 hours and 192 people lost their lives on the day. Bengaluru Urban logged 2,395 new cases, the highest among all districts.
(With inputs from PTI)