Health Minister hints at lockdown in COVID-hit Bengaluru again

Bengaluru: A day after Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa asked officials to implement lockdown measures more stringently in clusters and hotspots, Karnataka was abuzz with murmurs that another complete lockdown is coming. It isn’t just the common citizens who are confused whether the Karnataka Government will implement another complete lockdown owing to the rising number of Covid-19 cases. Ministers themselves are not on the same page regarding the issue.

Adding to the worries, Health Minister B Sriramulu on Tuesday said there could be a lockdown if the number of cases keep rising. “Four wards in Bengaluru have already been sealed for 14 days. If the situation continues, we are thinking of implementing a complete lockdown in the entire Bengaluru city,” he said while addressing the press. 

However, he added that any such decision will come only after meeting with the Chief Minister, the Covid-19 task force, experts and other officials. But his cabinet colleague and Revenue Minister R Ashoka struck a differing note when he said any decision to implement a lockdown will have to come from the Union Government after thorough monitoring of the situation. “The Union Government is monitoring the situation closely and any decision will come from there.

We will take decisions based on experts’ reports and it won’t be a kneejerk reaction. We can’t impose a lockdown today and then lift it in some time. We won’t reduce ourselves to a laughing stock”, he said.
He added that the State Government had, only on Monday, decided to seal off adjoining roads in localities that report Covid-19 cases instead only the adjoining houses as was being done earlier.  

“Let us first study the impact of sealing adjoining roads. Then we will see if wards have to be sealed, or constituencies or the entire city,” Ashoka said. CMO sources suggested that the CM is not keen on stalling economic activities, denting revenues of the state. “Only in the last three weeks, the state is seeing a slight improvement in revenues and we do not want to disrupt it.

Moreover, the numbers are not as alarming. If the number of cases is increasing, so are the number of people recovering. We expect the numbers to slide, starting next week,” the source said. The CM is pushing for a containment strategy without affecting revenue flows. Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar’s family members testing positive is said to have spooked some ministers and officials.

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