Apr 9: A panel of experts in the Karnataka state has suggested that the ongoing lockdown should be continued in districts identified as Covid-19 hotspots, including Bengaluru, to limit the spread of the pandemic.
IT companies and government offices providing essential services should be allowed to function with 50% staff, according to the committee headed by Narayana Health chairman Dr Devi Shetty, which submitted its report to chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday.
It has also asked the government to ease restrictions gradually and take adequate care over the next six months to contain the outbreak. The committee urged the government not to permit AC buses and metro services till April 30 and allow private vehicles only on alternate days (even-odd number-wise) for two weeks after April 15.
The government must close schools and colleges till May 31 and allow only inter-state movement of goods transport. The government could allow non-AC shops to open. It has suggested that the ban on inter-state train and flight services should continue.
Education minister S Suresh Kumar, who is the state Covid-19 spokesperson, said the Cabinet, which is meeting on Thursday, may discuss the recommendations and take a view on de-escalation of the lockdown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers through videoconference on April 11, after which the government will get an idea about the Centre’s thinking, he said.
While some states including Kerala, Maharashtra and Telangana have favoured continuation of the lockdown, Yediyurappa has not taken any stand publicly and has instead been implementing the Centre’s decision.
Six new cases
Karnataka on Wednesday reported six new Covid-19 positive cases, including that of a 65-year-old person in Kalaburagi, who died due to severe acute respiratory infection.
The health authorities have issued a notice to the private hospital -- where the deceased was initially admitted before being taken to a government hospital -- for not reporting the case to the government. The government has locked down the hospital, kept its entire medical team under quarantine, and police have registered a case of criminal negligence against the hospital authorities.
Of the other five positive cases, two had a travel history to Delhi, one had contact with a Dubai returnee and two others had close contacts with infected people.
This takes the total number of positive cases in the state to 181. Five people have died, while 28 have been discharged so far.
IT firms, key govt offices can function with half the staff in Karnataka: Panel of experts