Continue lockdown in Karnataka shotspots: Panel

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Bengaluru, April 8 (IANS) The 21-day lockdown should continue after April 14 for at least two more weeks in coronavirus-hit hotspots like Bengaluru and Mysuru in Karnataka, said a panel of eminent doctors on Wednesday.

“The panel has recommended to the state government to continue the lockdown till April 30 in hotspots like Bengaluru and Mysuru where the number of Covid patients is still high,” an official told IANS, quoting its report.
The panel, headed by eminent state doctors Devi Shetty, C.N. Manjunath, Nagaraj, Ravi and Sudarshan, was set up by the state government in March to assess the pandemic and measures to contain its spread across the southern state.
“Buses, trains, metro rail and flights also should not be operated till April 30 to and from the hotspots to prevent movement of people,” said the official.
On the panel’s recommendations earlier, the state government had declared partial lockdown in Bengaluru for a week from March 14 and extended it on March 21 up to March 31 even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared on March 24 night the 3-week lockdown from March 25 across the country and suspended transport services, including private vehicles to ensure the people stay home and break the virus chain.
“Quarantine measures should be strictly enforced in the hotspots and places where the affected patients are under treatment,” said the panel.
Besides Bengaluru and Mysuru, Dakshina Kannada (DK) on the state’s west coast and Bidar in the northern region are the other two hotspots with positive cases in double digits.
Of the 181 positive cases across the southern state till Wednesday, Bengaluru has 63, including 46 active, 16 discharged and 1 dead, while Mysuru has 35 active cases, followed by DK 12, with 8 active and 4 discharged and Bidar 10 active cases.
According to the state health department, the state has reported 5 deaths so far while 28 of the 181 cases were discharged and 148 are active in the designated hospitals across the state.
“Of the 30 districts across the state, only 18 are affected by the virus while the remaining 12 districts have cases in single digit between 1 and 9,” said the official.
Shetty submitted the panel report to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa at a meeting in the city centre, where ministers were also present.
Private-run buses should also not be allowed to operate, while transportation of goods, including essential supplies can be allowed.
“Three-wheeler auto-rickshaws can be allowed to operate and private vehicles too could be permitted with no standing passenger and one-foot minimum space for physical distancing should be kept,” said the official citing the panel report.
The panel also recommended odd-even transport system with precautions to prevent crowding and gridlock on main roads during normal days.
“Restrictions should be minimised in districts where there is nil or minimum cases,” the report noted.
“Industries, including IT, BT (biotech), garments, manufacturing and construction, can work with 50 per cent of their strength or capacity”, said the panel.
The other recommendations are educational institutes should be closed till May 30 and online classes should be encouraged.
Construction workers should be allowed to work on 50 per cent strength.
Garments workers should be allowed to stitch personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet their heavy demand and make up for the shortage in hospitals, clinics and isolated wards.
Covid and non-Covid patients should be segregated and online health services should be encouraged.