COVID-19: TN extends lockdown, Karnataka says it is no solution

As of July 30, Tamil Nadu recorded 2,39,978 COVID-19 cases of which 57,962 were active, while in Karnataka, the total number of cases stood at 1,18,632 of which 69,700 remained active

There are 7,42,023 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country. Photo: PTI

Even though Karnataka has recorded just half of the total number of COVID-19 cases reported in Tamil Nadu, its active cases are still higher than its neighbour.

Despite this observation, the Karnataka government does not consider lockdown a solution, even as Tamil Nadu extended the lockdown up to August 31.

As of July 30, Tamil Nadu recorded 2,39,978 COVID-19 cases of which 57,962 were active.

Meanwhile, in Karnataka, the total number of cases stood at 1,18,632 of which 69,700 remained active. In July, the active cases in Karnataka increased by eight times while in Tamil Nadu, the rise was just about 1.5 times. 

The Karnataka government reiterated that extending the lockdown was not a solution anymore as the focus should be on reviving the economy and boosting the state’s health infrastructure.

The government met its target of increasing testing to above 30,000 by the end of July. On July 31, the total number of tests done increased to 38,095, of which 53 percent was rapid antigen testing. 

Dr. C.P. Nanjaraj, Dean and Director of Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC&RI) said the government’s focus is now on saving lives (from the pandemic) and livelihood of people. “A complete lockdown is not a solution at a time where there’s community transmission. The state is conscious about not hurting the already affected vulnerable population by imposing a lockdown,” Nanjaraj said.

A day after the Centre announced Unlock 3.0 guidelines, the Karnataka government removed the complete lockdown concept on Sundays (after August 2) and issued an order to do away with the night curfews too.

The state government had imposed a total lockdown on Sundays since June 5 across the state, while it also reimposed a week-long lockdown in five districts in mid-July. 

The government, however, denied permission for reopening of schools, colleges and other educational institutions till August 31. It also did not permit opening of bars, theatres, swimming pools, and parks, but allowed yoga centres and gyms to be open from August 5.

The main vegetable and flower market in KR Market and Kalasipalya markets will continue to remain shut till August 31. 

Furthermore, the government imposed no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods. They also allowed people to hold Independence Day celebrations on August 15 at the state, district and local body levels. 

The state government, meanwhile, transferred the current Bengaluru City Police Commissioner and brought in Kamal Pant, Additional Director General of Police (intelligence) to take up the role as additional charge.

To speed up the improvement of COVID care infrastructure, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday told Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to make arrangements to help COVID-19 testing facilities function faster and asked him to ban the sale and distribution of tobacco, gutka and pan masala.

The Governor also suggested to the CM to make arrangements for the use of Ayurvedic medicine and homeopathy medicine to control the spread of the coronavirus in all affected areas of the state.

Amid the rise in cases, about 80 to 100 people succumbed to the disease on a daily basis. The situation looked grim in Bangalore (rural and urban), Udupi, and Dharwad districts where the positivity rate for the past 20 days stood in the range of 20-25 percent. The cases doubled every 12 days in Karnataka compared to the 21 days across India. 

Even as the government tried various efforts to reduce the friction between patients and healthcare workers by improving health infrastructure, a family member of a patient beat up an ambulance driver, alleging poor care in the ambulance. Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar condemned the attack, while the driver lodged a police complaint against the instigator.

Meanwhile, with repeated complaints of hospitals rejecting patients, the government has now integrated COVID hospitals and asked them to update the bed availability every six hours. 

“We want to ensure that no patient suffers due to delay or unavailability of beds. Real-time data of bed availability should be updated once in every 6 hours on the healthcare portals to facilitate immediate allocation of beds for the patients,” Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Commissioner for Health and Family Welfare tweeted. 

Meanwhile, even as the Opposition Congress alleged massive corruption in the procurement of PPEs and medical equipment for COVID care, the BJP denied it and called the accusations “baseless”. The party also sent a legal notice to Congress leaders DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah and demanded an unconditional apology. 

Howver, Shivakumar stood by the allegations and said they were ready to furnish all documents related to the corruption in medical equipment purchases, if a judicial probe by a sitting judge was initiated. 

“If ₹2,000 crore corruption charges against the BJP government is baseless, then they can hang me and book a case against me. Our party has proof for these allegations,” Shivakumar told reporters in Mangaluru.