Bengaluru: Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka on Wednesday said that the unlock will be divided into 4-5 phases after June 14, as the COVID-19 induced lockdown comes to an end. “Keeping the number of deaths and new cases in mind and aimed at bringing down the COVID infections further, lockdown will not be relaxed at one go. Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Health Minister K Sudhakar and I have held detailed discussions with the Chief Minister in this regard,” Ashoka said.
Ashoka, who is also the Vice-Chairman of Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority pointed out that Bengaluru is still recording over 2,000 cases per day and it has to come below 500. “We will also have to keep in mind the rise in positive cases as we unlock,” he said.
“First will be timings, now the relaxation (for shopping) that is there between 6 to 10 am, it may get extended further. Also, those who go for a walk at parks may get some relief. All this is subjected to a final decision by the Chief Minister. Lockdown will not be relaxed at one go,” he added.
Ashoka further stated that the work-from-home system that is in place for the IT/BT and certain sectors will continue However, export-oriented sectors, medicine and medical equipment manufacturers among others have already been given exception.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is most likely to conduct a meeting of Ministers, officials and experts on June 11 or 12, to discuss and make a decision on the unlocking process.
The State Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), comprising experts, is also said to have recommended a gradual unlocking of activities in the state.
Health Minister K Sudhakar also mentioned that elevating all restrictions at once may trigger a surge in cases. So the curbs will be eased in a staggered manner and the CM will take a final decision on the method of unlocking, he said. He mentioned that some sectors will resume, while restrictions will continue on some activities. “Advice of experts will be conveyed to the CM, who will take a final decision after discussion with senior ministers. As per experts’ opinion, if positivity rate is less than 5 per cent and cases are less than 5,000, curbs can be lifted,” he added.
He also highlighted, “Other states like Maharashtra have opened up only after a reduction in cases. If you compare with other states, the second wave has relatively subdued quickly in our state.”
The Karnataka government announced ‘close down’ from April 27 for 14 days, but subsequently imposed a complete lockdown from May 10 to May 24 due to the surge in coronavirus cases. And it was further extended till June 14.
Karnataka recorded less than 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 179 fatalities, taking the total number of infections to 27,17,289 and the death toll to 32,099 on Tuesday. According to the Cumulative Coverage Report of COVID-19 Vaccination by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), 1,30,45,252 people in the state have already received the first dose of the Covid vaccine and 29,33,353 people have received the second dose as of June 10.
(With inputs from PTI)