Bengaluru, May 18, 2021: The State government will take a call on extending the lockdown beyond May 24 over the next two or three days even as the government on Monday allowed the district administrations to further tighten strictures depending on the ground situation.
“We are currently discussing the lockdown. We are yet to take a call and will do so in the next two or three days,” Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa told reporters here after chairing a virtual conference with district administration officials. “The lockdown ends on May 24. There is still time.”
Earlier in the day, Cooperation Minister S.T. Somashekar and Health Minister K. Sudhakar had indicated that the Chief Minister could take a decision after the meeting in the evening. But sources said the government was likely to take a call on lockdown extension only after the Chief Minister’s interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the Deputy Commissioners of 17 COVID-affected districts, on Tuesday.
With the lockdown on for nearly a fortnight now, resulting in a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, the State government is under pressure from within and outside the party over the continuation of restrictions. Some Ministers have expressed concern about continuing the lockdown without offering any succour to those whose livelihoods have been affected. The Opposition is also seeking a livelihood package for the affected.
Sources said the government was likely to announce continuation of the lockdown for about a week, and it would subsequently be extended by another week, as it would take at least four or five weeks for the COVID-19 curve to flatten.
Mr. Yediyurappa on Monday told the district administrations that they could decide on further tightening the rules in consultation with the district in-charge Ministers. “The decision should be dependent on the gravity of the situation on the ground,” he said. The Chief Minister also directed the administrations to implement the guidelines released by the Ministry of Home Affairs in semi-urban and rural areas. “In light of the COVID-19 cases increasing in rural areas, I have directed the administrations to focus on villages,” he told reporters.
The government has also allowed the local purchase of medicines to address any issues of shortage. The districts have been given freedom to establish need-based infrastructure, including COVID Care Centres, makeshift hospitals, and oxygen requirement estimation, among other things.
“Home isolation has to be implemented strictly and COVID Care Centres set up in rural areas where home isolation becomes a problem,” Mr. Yediyurappa said, suggesting that hostel buildings and community halls could be used for the purpose. While he asked the district administrations to ensure medical kits for all those in isolation, he said that quick segregation had to be done through physical or phone triaging.