As the country plans for graded exit from the COVID-19 lockdown, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday proposed doing away with district wise colour-coding and instead advocated strict cordoning of containment zones to control the spread of pandemic.
In his presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conferencing, he pitched for resuming all economic activities in stand-alone establishments while continuing the restrictions on malls, cinema halls, dining facilities and establishments with centrally controlled air-conditioning.
He has also suggested that only those with severe symptoms should be hospitalised, and recommended home isolation of very mild/pre-symptomatic cases, along with tele-medicine care.
"We propose (to the Centre) to do away with district wise red, orange and green zones. Only containment zones have to be identified and strictly cordoned," Yediyurappa was quoted as saying by the Chief Minister's Office, which shared with media highlights of his presentation.
He said 50 to 100 meters around known clusters may be declared as containment zones and "commercial activities, including public transport, to be allowed in non-containment zones."
With the focus on boosting economic activities amid a graded exit from the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Modi interacted with chief ministers of various states via video conference, fifth such exercise since the lockdown.
Several key Ministers and top officials of the state government were present at the video conferencing along with Yediyurappa.
Noting that all domestic and international travel should not be permitted at least till the end of May, the Chief Minister said, all international and inter state travelers should be placed under compulsory institutional quarantine and tested.
"All inter-state travelers should be issued a health clearance certificate at the place of origin of journey by local authorities/hospital, those without a health clearance certificate to be placed under compulsory quarantine," he said.
Suggesting establishment of a nation-wide testing guideline to determine minimum number of tests per million to be carried out in each state, Yediyurappa said "we must only test those with symptoms and need hospitalisation."
"We must make Tele-Medicine the new protocol to approach this pandemic. Only those with severe symptoms should be hospitalised... we must advise persons above 60 years and persons below 10 years to remain indoors and stay protected.
"Especially people with comorbidity have to be protected with utmost care," he further noted.
Karnataka has so far reported a total of 862 COVID-19 positive cases, including 31 deaths and 426 discharges.
Highlighting the 4 'T' principle of his government, Yediyurappa in his presentation said Karnataka has emphasised on "Tracing, Tracking, Testing and Treating" and this approach has largely contributed in keeping the numbers comparatively low.
The state government has increased the number of testing facilities on a war footing from just two with a capacity of 300 samples per day in February to 35 labs which can handle over 6,000 daily now.
"Our state recently crossed the 1 lakh tests milestone. We are on track to set up 60 labs by this month end," he added.
Till date, the government through detailed survey has identified and tested 4,419 severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) cases and 12,525 influenza like illness (ILI) cases in the state for COVID-19, the Chief Minister said.
Asserting that it was vital to educate the population with the right positive messaging, he said "It is our collective responsibility to educate people that coronavirus is just like any other virus or flu, but it spreads more and affects people with comorbidity, who need to be protected," he added.