Karnataka reimposes curbs to check surging Covid cases


Not resorting to lockdown and night curfew, the Karnataka government gas re-imposed stringent restrictions across the state till April 20 to contain the surging Covid pandemic, a top official said on Friday.

“In view of the persistent rise in Covid cases across the state, especially in Bengaluru since a month, large gatherings of social, religious and political nature will be banned till April 20 to contain the virus spread,” Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar said.

Noting that Covid appropriate behaviour was not being followed in a large number of public gatherings like protests, marriages and political rallies, he said the restrictions were meant to reduce the cases, which have shot up steadily over the last 3-4 weeks across the state.

“In Bengaluru, gyms and swimming pools will be shut while pubs, restaurants and cinema theatres will function with 50 per cent of their seating capacity to ensure social distancing,” said Kumar in an order.

According to the state health bulletin, 4,991 new cases were registered on Thursday, taking the state’s Covid tally to 10,06,229 and active cases to 34,219.

As the epicentre of the pandemic and accounting for more than 50 per cent of the state’s cases, Bengaluru reported 3,509 fresh cases in a day, taking its Covid tally to 4,41,242, including 24,600 active cases.

Of the 269 patients in ICUs across the state, 130 are in Bengaluru hospitals, followed by 32 in Kalaburagi, 14 in Bidar, 12 in Mandya and 11 each in Hassan and Mysuru.

Positivity rate for the state rose to 4.19 per cent though the case fatality rate dropped to 0.12 per cent on Thursday.

“Though gatherings and functions are banned in places of religious worship, individuals are allowed to visit them to offer prayers, wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distance and sanitising hands,” said the order.

The order restricting 50 per cent of seating capacity in cinema halls will also apply in 7 more districts across the state where virus cases have been rising.

The districts are Bengaluru Rural, Bidar, Dakshina Kannada, Dharwad, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Udupi.

Offline classes for students of Classes 6 to 9 will be suspended in all schools, while classes from 10-12 standard will continue as per the guidelines.

“Physical attendance is not a must. Even colleges will be closed except those which have board or university exams,” said the order.

The restrictions will also apply to shopping malls, markets and departmental stores, which will be closed if violations occur.

“Strict Covid appropriate behaviour like wearing mask, physical distancing, provision of hand sanitiser/hand wash will be enforced. Violation of the order in pubs, bars, clubs or restaurants will lead to their closure,” the Chief Secretary said.

Only 500 people will be allowed at marriages in open space, 200 in a hall or a closed space, 100 people at birthday parties in open space and 50 in closed space, 100 people at funerals in an open space, 50 if closed, 50 people at cremations and burials, and 100 people in all other congregations;

About 500 are allowed in religious and political gatherings in open space.

“Similarly, the number of persons in public transport (buses) shall not exceed the seating capacity. Work from home (WFH) will be continued to prevent crowding in offices and workplaces,” the order added.