The Karnataka government on Friday (January 21) announced withdrawal of weekend curfew with immediate effect, though night curfew remains.
The decision was made after chief minister Basavaraj Bommai called a meeting of cabinet ministers, experts and senior government officials to review the situation. Most of the restrictions were imposed immediately after Christmas last month.
Karnataka Minister for Revenue R Ashok said that while residents of the state can move out freely on Saturdays and Sundays starting January 22, night curfew and 50% occupancy rule for hotels and other establishments will stay. Fairs and rallies or any large gathering are still prohibited.
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The minister warned that weekend curfew will be re-imposed if the hospitalisation rate crosses 5%. A day before, CM Bommai had hinted at revisiting the curfew rule. “The number of hospitalisations is less this time. So we were told that it would be better to carry on daily life by following the COVID guidelines. We will take a decision after seeking experts’ opinion.”
The state government was under pressure from the business community – big and small – to give relaxations looking at the negative impact of the curbs on the local economy.
On Friday (January 21), Karnataka recorded 48,000 cases. A day before, on Thursday, Bengaluru reported 30,540 fresh cases in Karnataka’s 24-hour tally of 47,754 cases. As of January 20, Karnataka has 2.93 lakh active cases. A total of 5,333 patients are being treated in hospitals, of which 340 were in the ICU and only 127 are in need of oxygen.
Earlier in the day, the Kejriwal government in Delhi too had recommendation to Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal seeking an end to the weekend curfew. Baijal, however, rejected the proposal and said the status quo should be maintained.