BENGALURU: Concerned over the rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths over the last few days, the State Government on Saturday announced a complete lockdown in Bengaluru Urban and Rural districts for a week starting 8 pm on July 14 till 5 am on July 22.
On Saturday, Karnataka reported 2,798 new cases and 70 deaths with Bengaluru alone accounting for 1,533 new cases, taking the city’s tally to 16,868 cases and 229 deaths. “The lockdown will be enforced more strictly than earlier, when restrictions were imposed across the state, while the government will also change its strategy from zonal-level to local-level monitoring.
We had only zonal-level monitoring and surveillance and now should handle this at the booth level,” Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar told The New Sunday Express. “Let us start with one week’s lockdown and see how it helps, we can review it after that,” he added.
The decision to impose the lockdown in the two districts was taken based on recommendations from experts, stated a communication issued by the Chief Minister’s Office on Saturday evening. During the lockdown, all essential services will be available and Medical and Post Graduation exams will be conducted as per schedule. Hospitals, grocery shops, vegetables, fruits and other daily essential commodities will be available during the lockdown. The government will announce detailed guidelines on Monday.
‘Lockdown will help break chain’
CM B S Yediyurappa, who is currently in home quarantine after three people working at his residence tested positive, has appealed to people to stay home, wear masks and maintain social distancing when they step out to buy essentials. The lockdown, Medical Education Minister Sudhakar said, will help break the chain of virus transmission.
“We need to break this chain again and our human resources, which is fatigued over the past four-and-half months, needs a fresh lease of life with renewed enthusiasm,” he said. Initially, the government was not keen on resorting to another lockdown and had adopted a strategy to fight the virus while, at the same time, allowing economic activities. It took the decision after the sudden surge in the numbers and also a majority of the ministers, who were given charge of eight zones in the city, too favoured a lockdown to bring the situation under control.
“We discussed the issue over the last two days and are of the firm belief that the lockdown will help bring down the numbers”, Revenue Minister R Ashok told TNIE. After initially managing Covid-19 well with the state, taking 65 days from its first case reported on March 8 to reach the 1,000-mark on May 12, the state’s tally was 36,216 on Saturday with over 1,000 cases consistently being added every day since July 2.
Moreover, while the positivity rate has been rising steadily since July 5, from 3.32 per cent to 4.52 per cent on July 11, the recovery rate has been dropping in the same period from 41.94 per cent to 40.63 per cent.
The one week lockdown is likely to give time to the government to further ramp up facilities and address shortcomings to effectively tackle the crisis.