Lockdown in Karnataka has been extended till June 14 as the positivity and fatality rates remain high in the state and the pandemic spreads to rural areas, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
Sources had earlier said the government was unlikely to change restrictions with regard to intra and inter-district movement. Daily timings for purchase of essentials is also likely to remain unchanged, from 6 am to 10 am, though there is pressure to extend the timing till 2pm.
In discussions on the lockdown, the chief minister and a few senior ministers have been in favour of unlocking in a phased manner after June 7 as Covid cases have dropped by nearly 65% from the peak in the first week of May.
However, health experts on the state Covid panel were of the opinion that the lockdown must continue at least for one more week as the positivity rate across the state is still hovering around 15%, a minister who attended the meeting was quoted as saying by Times of India.
The state’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee, in its report to the government, has said the positivity rate has to fall below 5% and the number of daily cases below 5,000 for restrictions on movement and activities to be relaxed.
A total of 7.2 lakh Covid-19 cases and 8,716 deaths were reported in Bengaluru over the past 61 days, with experts warning of caution as the state prepares to brace for yet another wave.
In 2020, after the lockdown was lifted, Bengaluru witnessed a surge in cases in August and September. There are fears that return of migrant workers, who left the city due to lockdown, may unleash a fresh wave of infections.
The State government had initially announced 14 days of closedown from April 27, but imposed a complete lockdown from May 10 to May 24 as the cases increased. Citing lockdown yielding results and experts advice, it was extended till June 7.
Earlier in the day, State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai indicated that the lockdown may be extended following Centre’s direction to do so till June 30, and that the Chief Minister would take a decision after meeting his Ministers.
“The positivity rate has not come down completely, it has to come to below 10 per cent, and in rural areas the cases are about 22,000-23,000, it has to go below 10,000, even the number of deaths will have to come down, only then we will be able to manage the health infrastructure,” he said.