State govt announces fresh curbs amid Covid-19 surge

Bengaluru: Days after the Karnataka government was accused of turning down recommendations of experts, the BS Yediyurappa-led administration announced a number of restrictions across the state, including Bengaluru, to contain the alarming growth of Covid-19 infections
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Published on Apr 03, 2021 12:26 AM IST
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BySharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: Days after the Karnataka government was accused of turning down recommendations of experts, the BS Yediyurappa-led administration announced a number of restrictions across the state, including Bengaluru, to contain the alarming growth of Covid-19 infections.

The announcement comes on a day when Karnataka recorded 4,991 new cases, the highest since the beginning of the year, registering a positivity rate of nearly 4.2%. The fresh cases take the total number of active cases to 34,219 with six more fatalities taking the toll to 12,591. Bengaluru recorded its highest total of 2021 with 3,509 new infections taking the active case count to 24,600 on Friday.

The government, in its order on Friday, said that physical classes for classes 6-9 will be suspended. Classes for 10, 11 and 12 will continue as before but attendance will not be mandatory. Boarding schools and hostels will be closed except for students in classes above 10th or higher, including professional courses.

“The above restrictions and prohibitions will be in effect till April 20,” the order said.

As per the order, gyms and swimming pools are to remain closed. The capacity in cinema halls in Bengaluru, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Kalaburagi, Bengaluru Rural, Mysuru, Bidar and Dharwad will be halved.

The Karnataka government has resisted taking any measure that would curtail economic activity fearing the impact it would have on the fledgling financial situation.

The government order said that work from home should be followed wherever possible as a measure to restrict people leaving their homes and sitting together in air-conditioned and enclosed spaces.

Karnataka, like other states in the country, has seen a sudden surge in cases since the beginning of March. States like Punjab and Maharashtra have taken stern measures including partial lockdowns to contain the spread.

Giridhar R Babu, professor and head, life-course epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India, said that these suggestions were made to the government earlier itself.

“The main aim of these restrictions is to control “super-spreader” events in which large number of people gather in closed spaces where infections spread faster,” he said. He added that the restrictions for the next two weeks will help bring down the case count.

There are over 6.14 lakh active cases across the country as states see a sharp spike in infections.

The Karnataka government said that only prayers can be offered by individuals at religious places but there will be prohibition on gatherings and events.

“Rallies and dharnas for any reason shall be prohibited,” the government order said.

However, there were no specific restrictions on political events or gatherings.

Three constituencies in the state--Belagavi, Basavakalyan, Maski--are headed to the bypolls on April 17 and political parties have been carrying out extensive campaign rallies across these districts. Basavakalyan is in Bidar, which is one of the most impacted regions, and large gatherings are seen almost every day, as political leaders address the people, where wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing is rarely followed.

The government said those violating the Covid norms would be fined or cases would be registered under the Disaster Management Act.

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