Coronavirus: Karnataka decides to open up parts of economy to business from April 20
Karnataka has decided to open parts of its economy to business again from Monday amid the coronavirus lockdown. The state government has decided to allow construction activities to resume and technology companies to start their work, besides government departments, industrial townships and SEZ’s according to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. The CM was briefing the media after a meeting with his senior advisors.
The chief minister stated that the imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) would continue till May 3. Yediyurappa also said that inter-district and interstate travel is still prohibited.
All government departments, SEZ’s and industrial townships including technology parks would work at a third of their strength. Earlier on Saturday, Yediyurappa had said that two-wheeler vehicles would be permitted to move around without passes but late in the night, the CMO issued a statement saying that based on public feedback, it had been decided to scrap this move.
The CM also said the administration would double down on enhancing measures in Covid-19 containment zones including 32 identified in Bangalore and eight other hotspots across the state, to ensure there was no spread of the virus. The administration has made wearing masks mandatory.
Agricultural activities had earlier been exempted from any restrictions across the state.
25 new fresh Covid-19 positive cases were registered in the state bringing the cumulative total till Saturday to 384 which includes 14 deaths and 104 people being discharged. Eight of the 30 districts in the state are completely Covid-19 free and have not reported even a single case till date.
Karnataka government’s move to ease lockdown restrictions, however, sparked criticism from the opposition. JD(S) leader and Member of Legislative Council, Basvraj Horatti asked the government to reconsider its decision as Covid-19 cases were increasing in the state. He also said, allowing movement of two-wheeler vehicles without passes would render the lockdown meaningless and coronavirus may spread to rural areas too.
Meanwhile, in a controversial statement, Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Minister B Sriramulu claimed that gargling hot water mixed with turmeric and salt, thrice a day, could cure coronavirus. Sriramulu said he is no doctor but claimed that he had read an article on how this was an effective cure and had been successful in China. However, late in the evening, he tweeted out saying that he had merely made a suggestion and did not mean that the remedy could cure coronavirus.
The minister had made the original statement in Bellary where, in another faux pas, food kits were distributed by him and local legislator Somashekar Reddy. The leaders were seen violating all social distancing norms as hundreds gathered in queues, jostling and pushing one another to avail of these free food kits.