Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Monday released a set of strict guidelines to control the largely unregulated movement of people at the capital Bengaluru, including specifying time for functioning of services for the week-long lockdown to help contain the surge of Covid-19 cases.
“Shops, including ration shops (PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder to open only from 5 am to 12 noon,” stated the order issued by the state’s chief secretary, T.M.Vijay Bhaskar.
The lockdown in Bengaluru, which starts on Tuesday evening, has been enforced by a reluctant B.S. Yediyurappa-led state government that tried hard to steer clear of taking this extreme step to keep businesses open in its growth engine to help revive the state’s failing finances.
Government offices will function with 50% staff strength, pharmacies, medical services, unrestricted movement of goods and cargo among others, outside containment zones, will be allowed to continue.
Only emergency travel will be allowed in Bengaluru.
“Movement of passenger vehicles to and from Bengaluru area only in case of emergency after obtaining valid passes and strictly adhering to the prevailing SOPs/guidelines issued by Department of Health and Family Welfare,” the order specified.
The government exempted a large category of industries to remain open including food processing, manufacturing of essential goods, drugs, Special Economic Zones (SEZs) or outside municipal limits and Export Oriented Units (EoUs), industrial townships adhering to national directives for Covid- l9 management.
Unlike the earlier phases of the lockdown, the government has made some concessions that allow operations of e-commerce companies, food and other deliveries, on-sight construction and other services to allow some room for businesses to function.
The decision to implement a total lockdown comes as the pandemic situation in Bengaluru continues to slip away from the administration’s control.
Bengaluru reported a record 47 fatalities and 1,315 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, which took the city’s virus-related death toll to 322 and number of active cases to 15,052.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in Karnataka breached the 41,000-mark as 2738 new cases were reported on Monday. The number of active cases in Karnataka stood at 24,572, almost a month ahead of projections made by the government when it estimated that the state will have around 25,000 cases by mid-August. A record 73 people lost their lives to Covid-19 in the state in the last 24 hours, that takes the total number of fatalities to 761, according to the daily bulletin of the state health department.
Medical education minister K.Sudhakar said that nearly 60-70% of the deceased had tested positive for Covid-19 but did not necessarily die due to the virus.
Delays in sharing test results and near non-existent contact tracing in Bengaluru has heavily weighed on India’s technology capital and its recent failings in the battle against the virus.
Sudhakar said that the government has set up booth-level committees to follow a hyper-local approach to identify and isolate contacts.
The source of infection is unknown in over 60% of all cases reported in Karnataka and almost every single case reported from Bengaluru in the last 10 days or so.
The seemingly haphazard efforts on the government’s front over hospital bed allotments hasn’t helped the situation either with patients dying outside medical facilities or waiting for help.
Though the political opposition has asked that the lockdown be expanded to cover the entire state, it remains critical of the ruling party for failing to provide financial and other assistance to those hit the hardest due to the decision.
Jagadish Shettar, the industries minister on Monday said that there would be a lockdown even in Dharwad, about 430 kms from Bengaluru.