Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Saturday re-allocated COVID-19 related responsibilities to his cabinet colleagues for better management of the pandemic in the state. At the COVID-19 task force meeting chaired by him, the Chief Minister ordered stringent sealing measures at areas of Bengaluru that have reported more number of positive cases, as several Ministers expressed opposition to re- imposition of lockdown for now.
"We are working as a team and we have to work like that. We have a COVID-19 task force committee, along with that Revenue Minister R Ashoka and Chief Minister''s Political Secretary S R Vishwanath have been given the responsibility of ensuring availability of beds at private hospitals," Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he said, "While Deputy Chief Minister Ashwath Narayan has been given the responsibility of COVID-19 care centres and has been asked to increase their numbers; I have been directed to take care of policy-making, guidelines, war rooms and the responsibility of briefing the media regarding the virus- related matters."
The task force committee consists of Health Minister Sriramulu, Home Minister SR Bommai, Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan and Minister Sudhakar besides the Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar.
Lack of coordination between Sudhakar and Sriramulu during the early days of the pandemic had forced Yediyurappa to step in and appoint Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar as the COVID-19 spokesperson, but subsequently Kumar was relieved of the responsibility as he had to manage the smooth conduct of SSLC (class 10) exams.
Recently there were reports that Yediyurappa''s decision to hand over charge of Bengaluru''s COVID-19 affairs to Ashoka in the absence of Sudhakar, who was under quarantine after his family members were tested positive, had not pleased some of his Cabinet colleagues.
Stating that there was also discussion about the lockdown at the task force meeting, Sudhakar said, "A few of us (him, Narayan and a few officials) suggested that it was not a permanent solution and for no cost it should be implemented."
He said the Chief Minister has directed that areas that have more number of cases in Bengaluru have to be sealed to control the spread, and also sought to ensure more tests to those in market areas, street vendors among others.
As lockdown on Sundays has been announced by the Chief Minister, it will continue, he added.