Paying heed to the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases and convinced that the state is again “under the threat” of a rapid spread of the virus, the Karnataka government has swung into action and imposed a slew of stringent restrictions, which will be in effect till April 20.
The government order dated April 2, 2021 stated that gyms and swimming pools will be closed down, while restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs and cinema halls will strictly restrict seating capacity to 50%. The number of persons travelling in public transport too should not exceed the seating capacity.
These rules will be applicable in Bengaluru Urban and Rural, including BBMP, Mysuru, Kalaburgi, Dakshin Kannada, Udupi, Bidar and Hubballi-Dharwad.
People should also follow strict Covid-appropriate behaviour – including wearing masks, physical distancing and provision of hand sanitizer – should be ensured, the order stated. In the eventuality of any violation of these rules, the pubs, clubs and restaurants will be closed down until the pandemic is over.
The same rule applies to shopping malls, department stores, closed markets, etc., where the managements should ensure that safety practices are followed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Rallies and dharnas have been banned, while people can visit temples to offer prayers but they will have to refrain from participating in any gatherings and functions at places of worship.
The order has also brought educational institutions under their radar by suspending classes 6-9, including Vidyagama, but classes 10, 11 and 12 will continue in the existing mode although attendance for these classes in person will not be mandatory.
Classes of higher and professional courses too will be suspended, except the one due for board/university examinations and health sciences.
The order stated that boarding schools and residential hotels shall be closed, except for the students of 10,11, 12 and students of higher and professional courses appearing in board/university examination and health sciences.
The order further stated that gyms, party halls, clubhouses, swimming pools will remain closed in apartment complexes.
From the beginning of March, Karnataka has started to report a fresh surge in cases showing the first signs of a second wave. With daily test positivity rates (TPR) shooting up by over six times, the number of cases reported from across the state also kept rising – the TPR, which was 0.62 per cent on February 28, rose to 3.89 per cent on March 31. The state has reported 45,753 new cases and 210 deaths in March alone.
Bengaluru Urban continued to be the top contributor to the caseload and also topped the toll among 30 districts in the state. On March 13, the Karnataka government had passed a new order curbing the number of people who can meet at social gatherings, death ceremonies and other events in the state.