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Karnataka Hotspots May Remain Locked Down for 2 Extra Weeks, Liquor Shops Unlikely to Open

A deserted stretch in Bengaluru during the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus. (News18)

A deserted stretch in Bengaluru during the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus. (News18)

As of now, in 14 districts, industrial and manufacturing sectors have been told they can reopen; constructions are also underway whether private or government infrastructure projects. Projects under the MNREGA programmes too have been taken up.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Cabinet will meet on Thursday to decide how to go about lifting restrictions in a phased manner after May 3 even as many relaxations have already been announced for 14 districts that fall under the green zone.

While the government is keen to reboot the industrial sector and economic activity as revenues from many sectors have gone down, it would look at also imposing stringent conditions in hotspots and containment zones, for about two weeks beyond May 3, sources said.

As of now, in 14 districts, industrial and manufacturing sectors have been told they can reopen; constructions are also underway whether private or government infrastructure projects. Projects under the MNREGA programmes too have been taken up.

In eight other districts, district-in-charge ministers have been empowered to lift restrictions phase-wise going by taluks within the districts that remain unaffected. These are districts in the orange zone where some cases have been reported in a few taluks.

However, in red-zone districts like Bengaluru and Mysore, there is no relaxation of lockdown until May 3. Thursday's cabinet meeting will decide on easing restrictions from Monday. There have also been strong indications that liquor shops are unlikely to open until May 15.

Karnataka is one of the large states where the spread of Covid-19 has been controlled - it has performed better than the national average in rate at which cases are doubling too. It's testing too is higher than the national average.

The health department has ordered that all frontline officers of the government who have been working in tasks such as contact tracing, enforcing of quarantine by monitoring quarantined persons, enforcement of lockdown and sealing of containment zones must be tested. This testing began on Wednesday at a government hospital.

New fines on spitting, urinating in public

In the meantime, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike has announced steep fines for littering, spitting in public, urinating and defecating in public places. A first offence will be fined at Rs 1,000, while repeat offenders will be fined Rs 2,000, the BBMP has announced.

The BBMP has also mandated that masks that are being disposed must not be mixed with wet or dry waste -- because if disposable masks and gloves have viruses stuck on them there is fear of community transmission as it could affect workers involved in waste recycling who may touch these without knowing.​ Masks and gloves have to be disposed along with diapers and sanitary waste as a precaution, as these are handled separately anyway.

first published:April 29, 2020, 21:06 IST