The Karnataka government Wednesday announced partial relaxations in lockdown measures from the midnight of April 23 to “mitigate the hardship” faced by the public due to the measures enforced to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
As per an official order issued by Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, select activities will be allowed only outside COVID-19 containment zones identified by the government. “To mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities will be allowed, which will come into effect from 0000 hours on April 23, 2020,” the order read.
While public transportation will remain suspended till May 3, only private vehicles with passes issued for emergency services and for commuting to workplaces and back will be allowed.
As per the order, construction activities related to roads, irrigation projects, buildings and all kinds of industrial projects including MSMEs only in rural areas (outside municipalities and municipal corporations limits) where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside will be allowed.
Similarly, constructions will be allowed for metro rail projects within limits of municipal corporations. Meanwhile, IT and IT-enabled services will be allowed to work with “minimum essential staff” as per the order. “Rest to work from home,” an addendum issued by the Chief Secretary read.
359 containment zones identified in Karnataka
As many as 359 containment zones have been identified in Karnataka so far, the state’s COVID-19 spokesperson and Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said on Wednesday.
“Including those within BBMP limits in Bengaluru, a total of 359 containment zones are there in Karnataka as of today (April 22). These were notified by Deputy Commissioners and the BBMP Commissioner,” Kumar added.
Further, specifying cases reported in Padarayanapura in Bengaluru, he said as many as 135 people were quarantined within the ward.
1000 journalists, cops to be tested
Alarmed over journalists testing positive for COVID-19 in neighbouring states Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, the Karnataka government has decided to test journalists and police personnel in Bengaluru on pandemic-related duties.
According to an official order by Additional Chief Secretary (H&FW) Jawaid Akhtar, “all journalists involved in COVID-19 reporting as per the list provided by Department of Information and Publicity” will be tested after collecting throat and nasal swabs.
“This will begin from Thursday (April 23) with 200 each of the 1000 journalists in Bengaluru directed to report at CV Raman Hospital on Old Madras Road in Indiranagar between 10 am and 4 pm,” Kumar said.
Further, the government has also directed “all symptomatic police personnel involved in quarantine/isolation/surveillance activities of suspect/confirmed COVID-19 cases in the State” to undergo testing.
Bengaluru reports new cases after 3 days, total in Karnataka rises to 427
With seven new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Karnataka, the total number of coronavirus positive cases rose to 427 on Tuesday in the state. The new cases include five from Kalaburagi and two from Bengaluru, the first couple of cases reported from the capital city after three days.
— Ralph Alex Arakal (@ralpharakal) April 22, 2020
While 17 deaths and 131 discharges have been confirmed by the health department as on Wednesday, as many as 279 COVID-19 cases are active in Karnataka.
Liquor ban in Karnataka to continue till May 3
Denying reports that liquor sales in the state would resume as part of relaxing lockdown measures in non-COVID 19- affected areas in the state, Karnataka Cooperation Minister S T Somashekhar said that the ban on liquor sale would continue till May 3.
“Even though the state is facing huge revenue loss due to the ban in liquor sales, it is likely to continue till May 3,” he said in Chamarajanagar on Wednesday.
CM launches new app to track SARI, ILI cases
In a bid to step up the government’s existing surveillance and tracking facilities to find suspected COVID-19 cases in the state, Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa launched a helpline number and mobile app named Apthamitra on Wednesday.
According to the CM, the helpline with a toll-free number 14410 would help the government to reach out to citizens to help identify those having influenza-like illness (ILI), Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), and other COVID-19-like symptoms.
“These platforms will be used to identify low-risk patients depicting symptoms similar to COVID-19, apart from providing telemedicine support, over-the-counter medicinal support and counselling related to self-quarantine measures,” Yediyurappa said.
According to government officials, the helpline will function from six centres in the state – four from Bengaluru and one each from Mysuru and Mangaluru, from 8 am to 8 pm daily. At the same time, the helpline will complement the general health helpline (104) and health emergency helpline (108), a release stated.
Lockdown: Karnataka’s public transport corporations record Rs 816.23 cr loss
As public transport continues to stay banned in Karnataka due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic scenario, the state-owned transport corporations cumulatively have recorded an estimated revenue loss of Rs 816.23 crore, as on Wednesday.
Revenue loss incurred by public transport corporations in #Karnataka:
— Express Bengaluru (@IEBengaluru) April 22, 2020
According to a government release, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, which operates both inter-state and intra-state operations, has recorded the most loss among all four corporations in the state (314.89 cr). The estimated revenue loss borne by other corporations are as follows:
North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) – Rs 180 cr
North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) – Rs 172 cr
Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) – Rs 149.34 cr