Pramesh S jain
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday said the lockdown in place to control the spread of COVID-19 will be extended for two more weeks and the Centre will issue guidelines regarding its implementation in a couple of days.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi said for no reason there should be any relaxation in the lockdown,suggestions have come regarding extension of lockdown.In a couple of days guidelines will be issued about the implementation of the lockdown during the next fifteen days,”Yediyurappa said addressing media.
Speaking to reporters after the four-hour long video conference that the Prime Minister had with chief ministers of all states,he said,The PM noted that lockdown was inevitable for next 15 days, but guidelines will be informed,so till April-end it is certain.
Modi held a video conference with all state chief ministers to discuss the situation arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to take their feedback on whether the 21-day shutdown should be extended.
Other than BS Yediyurappa,Home Minister,Basavaraj Bommai,Health Minister,Sriramulu,Medical Education Minister,K Sudhakar,Primary and Secondary Education Minister,Suresh Kumar,TM Vijay Bhaskar,Chief Secretary,along with top officials as DG&IGP of karnataka,Praveen Sood,ADGP,Law and Order,Amar Kumar Pandey,with other state government officials were part of the video conference.
The lockdown during the next two weeks will be different from the last three weeks, Yediyurappa said.
The Prime Minister said during the next 15 days lockdown will be relaxed in the graded manner,agriculture and industrial sectors will be given relaxation.Government offices will be allowed to function with partial strength.PM Modi will announce such measures soon,the CM added.
During the video conferencing,several chief ministers are said to have suggested for extension of the nationwide lockdown by at least a fortnight after April 14.
According to Yediyurappa,the Prime Minister said next two-three weeks were critical and these three-four weeks will decide whether we have succeeded or failed.If the situation worsens we have to face the crisis.
The PM has assured that the Cenral government is fully with the states.He said 2.84 lakh PPE kits have been supplied to the state and more will be supplied in the following days.Steps are being taken to provide 2 lakh masks every two days,the CM said.
The number of testing laboratories has also been increased to 220.This will go up to 300 by April 30.At present 15,000 tests are being conducted per day.By May 31, the government aims to conduct 1 lakh tests every day,”the CM said.
Yediyurappa said all his cabinet colleagues were of the unanimous opinion to extend the lockdown for about 15 days after April 14,and a final decision in this regard will be taken after consulting the Prime Minister on Saturday.
The PM said that fishing and fish processing activities would be exempted from the extended lockdown and this will benefit the fishermen of the state’s coastal districts of Uttara Kannada,Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts,” Yediyurappa said.
He even said the fifteen days lockdown will be implemented very strictly across the state and till today more than 40,000 vehicles which were roaming unnecessarily has been seized and more than 200 FIRs has been registered against lockdown violators.
A committee of health experts tasked with devising an exit strategy for coronavirus lockdown in Karnataka on Wednesday had recommended for its continuation in hotspots along with some relaxations.
In its recommendations submitted to Yediyurappa on,it has said schools and colleges should remain shut till May 31 and advocated restrictions on public transport to continue for some more time even while suggesting odd-even formula for private vehicles.
While non-air conditioned shops can be allowed to function and IT/BT companies, government offices providing essential services and factories can operate with 50 per cent staff,the committee has said.
The recommendations were for a period of next 15 days from April 14 after the current national lockdown.
The committee comprising among others Narayana Health founder-chairman Dr Devi Prasad Shetty,Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences director Dr CN Manjunath was set up for devising the exit strategy for the lockdown.
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Only two wards to be sealed down: BBMP
BBMP Commissioner also stepped in and said that the city is not heading for a seal-down. BH Anil Kumar said,“Dear citizens,I appeal to all of you not to panic and go out to buy essentials.Seal down orders are only in Ward 134 Bapuji Nagar & Ward 135 Padarayanapura due to fresh cases & to contain the spread of #Covid19.Urge TV news channels to report facts & not speculate he tweeted.