The Karnataka government on Saturday said total lockdown will be imposed across the state on all Sundays starting July 5 in an effort to arrest the growing spread of the coronavirus infection. No activities will be permitted on these days except essential services and supplies, said a statement from the Chief Minister's Office.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday had ruled out the possibility of another lockdown, saying the government was not in favour of it everywhere as reviving the economy was equally important.
No changes in the existing scenario will take place until July 4 due to the SSLC exams in the state.
Karnataka on Saturday reported a single-day high of 918 new coronavirus cases taking its overall tally to 11,923, said the state Health Department. Eleven deaths took the COVID-19 toll in the state to 191. The department bulletin said 11,923 people have tested positive so far since the outbreak, which includes 7,287 discharges, 4,441 total active cases and 191 deaths.
The latest lockdown decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, which was attended by Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Revenue Minister R Ashok, Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner BH Anil Kumar, among others.
Among the other decisions taken at the meeting were a five-day working week for government offices, which will remain closed on all Saturdays with effect from July 10.
The existing timing of night curfew, from 9 pm to 5 am, has also been altered to 8 pm to 5 am with effect from June 29.
According to the CMO statement, the officers who attended the meeting were directed to set up a centralised bed allocation system to speed up the hospitalisation of coronavirus patients.
Yediyurappa ordered them to enhance to 250 the number of ambulances to carry coronavirus patients and to arrange separate ambulances for carrying the mortal remains of those patients who die. He also directed them to use the police control room wireless system to identify the location and easy movement of ambulances.
The administration decided to give additional responsibilities to Joint Commissioners of eight regions and to appoint KAS officers to assist them in order to lessen the burden on Commissioner and the central office of BBMP.
The authorities will avail the services of 180 ESI doctors appointed by the Labour Department and appoint probationary tahasildars as nodal officers for Covid hospitals and Covid care centres.
Yediyurappa also directed the officials to take necessary steps to reserve marriage halls, hostels and other institutions in Bengaluru for Covid care centres and to avail of railway coaches with beds.
The BBMP Commissioner has ordered setting up more wholesale vegetable markets to avoid crowds in large markets in the state capital. The official was directed to notify the reservation of 50% of beds in medical colleges and private hospitals and to notify tying up of hotels with hospitals to avoid any shortage of beds for treatment.