Bengaluru: Karnataka has announced a two-week lockdown from Tuesday, a day after reporting the biggest rise of over 34,000 new cases in 24 hours. "Covid curfew will be implemented in the state from tomorrow 9 pm for the next 14 days," Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said, using the phrase "close down". Essential services will be allowed between 6 am and 10 am and shops will close after that. There will be no public transport during the curfew, the Chief Minister said.
Only construction, manufacturing and agriculture sectors are allowed to work. Travel within the state and to other states will also not be allowed, except for emergencies. "People will have to cooperate. If they do, we can achieve our target," Yediyurappa said. The Chief Minister said government hospitals would provide free vaccinations for those between 18 and 44 years.
The state reported 34,804 new Covid cases, which takes its total cases to 13,39,000. A total of 143 deaths were reported, taking the tally to 14,426. IT hub Bengaluru, a city of 12 million, reported more than 20,000 new infections, its highest 24-hour rise, second only to Delhi. Karnataka's previous single-day record was 29,438 cases on Saturday. The state has a positivity rate of nearly 20 per cent.
Stringent curbs in Kerala
Announcing stringent curbs to control the unprecedented coronavirus surge, the Kerala government has ordered that cinema halls, malls, gyms, sports complexes, swimming pools and bars in the state will remain shut indefinitely. The Pinarayi Vijayan government has said all social, political, cultural and religious gatherings will also remain banned until further orders. The government said only essential and emergency services will be allowed on Saturdays and Sundays. It said Saturdays will remain a holiday for all government officials until further order.
Marriages will have to be completed within 2 hours with not more than 50 guests. Only 20 people will be allowed at funerals. Shops and restaurants will have be closed by 7.30 pm, but home deliveries can continue till 9 pm. "All shops/restaurants shall minimise interaction with customers...Only bare minimum time will be allowed for the customers in shops. Control rooms to help migrant labourers will be set up in all districts. Kerala, which reported 21,890 Covid cases and 28 deaths, is one of the worst-affected states.
15,659 fresh cases in TN
Tamil Nadu recorded 15,659 positive cases of Covid in a single day, bringing the state tally to 10,81,988. Among these, Chennai reported 4,206 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 3,09,899. The state recorded 82 deaths, putting the state toll at 13,557. Seventy of them had succumbed due to comorbidities. A total of 11,065 patients were discharged following treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 9,63,251.
With the state expecting a steady rise in the number cases in the state, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to immediately cancel the diversion of 80 MTs of oxygen to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Sterlite plant to be reopened
The all-party meet called by Palaniswami, meanwhile, has resolved to allow the Sterlite copper smelter plant in Thoothukudi to reopen for four months and manufacture oxygen. Further, a committee will be set up by the district collector to monitor manufacturing at the plant during this period.