BENGALURU: With the state’s finances under severe stress, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has categorically ruled out extending the lockdown in Bengaluru by another week. At a meeting of Bengaluru zonal in-charge ministers, officials and MPs on Friday, Yediyurappa asked for focus to be shifted on resolving issues related to the testing-hospitalisation-recovery process.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said that given the heavy losses being incurred by the State Government as well as private individuals due to the lockdown, Yediyurappa does not see it as a viable option anymore. Despite the steep spike in the number of cases, the CM is keen on allowing all economic activity, while addressing existing loopholes and scaling up testing and healthcare facilities further. Karnataka has so far tested 9,50,177 samples since March, with 24,700 of them tested on Friday alone.

“Lockdown is not a solution to contain Covid-19. There is no such thought of extending the lockdown,” the CM is believed to have told the ministers, MPs and officials in the meeting. His stance was made loud and clear after BBMP Mayor M Goutham Kumar and Commissioner B H Anil Kumar told the media barely hours earlier that they had proposed extension of the lockdown. Friday’s meeting was aimed at reviewing Covid-19 containment measures in the eight BBMP zones in Bengaluru after ministers were given charge of each zone. 

“The State Government has sought the Centre’s assistance in scaling up tests — be it in terms of kits or facilities. My suggestion to the State Government is to follow the Delhi model that prioritises home quarantine for asymptomatic patients so that patients in need of Covid Care Centres or hospitals will have beds vacant,” Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda told TNIE. 

During the meeting, it was conveyed to the in-charge ministers that they will be held directly responsible for testing, transfer of patients to hospitals or Covid Care Centres, facilities at the care centres and hospitals, availability of beds and basic amenities like food and medicine supply in their respective zones. It was also decided to conduct rapid antigen tests for the deceased — even those who die at home — before handing the mortal remains for last rites as per Standard Operating Procedure. Other issues like recruitment of doctors to fill vacant posts, identifying volunteers at each ward to coordinate with private hospitals, notifying ambulances ward-wise were also discussed. Wedding halls and hotels in each ward will be identified to quarantine people who cannot undergo home quarantine. 

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