Decision on further easing of Covid curbs in Karnataka on Saturday, says Yediyurappa

Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa said that a decision on further relaxing the Covid lockdown restrictions in the state will be taken on Saturday after meeting with officials and ministers. The current restrictions will come to an end on June 21.

“The situation is improving. There is also a possibility of a third wave in the future, but despite that we will have to give some relaxations in the lockdown. We will discuss it at a meeting tomorrow (Saturday) evening, and take a decision,” Yediyurappa said on Friday.

Earlier, health minister K Sudhakar said that the government was drawing up a comprehensive plan along with the state technical advisory committee (TAC) to ease the restrictions.

“The process of a graded unlock and preparations for future requirements should go together. While considering partial relaxation for trade and service sectors, we are also focusing on preventive measures and preparations to combat an anticipated surge in cases,” he said.

The state had imposed a total lockdown from the last week of April amid the second wave of Covid-19. The government then partially lifted the curbs in some districts from June 14 and planned to relax more restrictions in a second unlock phase from Monday (June 21).

The government had last week issued fresh guidelines extending the COVID induced lockdown in 11 districts, which have a high positivity rate, till June 21, where citizens were allowed to buy essentials between 6 am and 10 am. Some relaxations were announced in the remaining 19 districts from June 14, allowing essential shops to be open from 6 am to 2 pm, and the movement of people till 7 pm. Apart from this, the government had also imposed COVID curfew (daily) from 7 pm to 5 am and a weekend curfew from 7 pm on Friday to 5 am on Monday.

The 11 districts lockdown measures have continued are Shivamogga, Davangere, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Kodagu, Bengaluru Rural, Mandya, Belagavi and Dakshina Kannada districts which reported high positivity rate.

According to sources in the health department, the TAC suggested that the government observe the impact of unlock, which has been in effect since June 14, for two weeks. The committee wanted the government to observe and study the level of infection and it’s spreading in the districts where the relaxations were announced.

Sudhakar said the government is awaiting a report from Dr Devi Shetty-headed panel on preparedness for the third wave. He added that the work on augmenting medical infrastructure is already going on and the special focus is given on paediatric care.

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