Amid an unprecedented spike in Covid-19 cases in Karnataka, the state government on Monday announced a 14-day lockdown starting April 27 night in the state allowing only essential services to operate. The decision came following a Cabinet meeting that was held on Monday morning as the state registered a record high of 34,804 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases and 134 deaths on Sunday. The positivity rate in the state rose to 20% on Saturday raising concerns regarding the burden of the pandemic on the state’s healthcare infrastructure.
“We have come to a decision after speaking to all ministers and experts,” Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said in a press briefing after the cabinet meeting. Shops selling essential items and groceries will be allowed to remain open between 6 am and 10 am. Only construction, manufacturing and agriculture sectors will be allowed to function. Public transport will remain shut, Yediyurappa said.
The chief minister also said that the public transport services will also remain shut. Public transportation, including RTC buses and Bangalore Metro services, will not function. Goods can be transported from one state to another. Takeaway from restaurants and home delivery of alcohol has been allowed.
The state especially capital Bengaluru is reeling under a crisis of ventilator and ICU-beds with patients needing to wait for hours to get admitted in hospitals. The chief minister also warned that the government may extend the lockdown if the cases do not decrease and there are no signs of improvement in the state’s Covid-19 situation. The chief minister said the state will provide free vaccination to all including people aged between 18-45 years.
Former PM H D Devegowda wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, offering suggestions to tackle the Cvid-19 pandemic. “This is a national crisis and we need to fight it as one nation. We should support all constructive measures taken to save lives and reduce suffering” he wrote.
“If the government decides to give vaccines free to all citizens, that would be a great humanitarian gesture,” he wrote