From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Jun 10: A final decision on unlocking is likely to be announced by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa in the evening. However, he has asked the Deputy Commissioners and District in-charge ministers of 8 districts, including Dakshina Kannada, Chikkamagaluru and Hassan, to take stringent measures to bring down the positivity rates in their respective districts within a week.
The Chief Minister, who held a video conference discussion with the Deputy Commissioners and District in-charge ministers of 8 districts – Dakshina Kannada, Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Mysuru, Mandya, Shivamogga and Tumakauru – to work for reducing the positivity rate below 5% within a week as is the case in rest of the districts, across Karnataka.
According to official sources, the Deputy Commissioners and District in-charge ministers of 8 districts asked the Chief Minister to continue the present lockdown restrictions for another week so as to give them sufficient to time to act and strictly enforce the lockdown restrictions in the respective districts.
Yediyurappa said he will take a decision on the unlocking in the evening after consulting ministers and senior officials.
The official sources indicated that there is a proposal to announce unlock in the lockdown restrictions in rest of Karnataka, except the 8 districts with high positivity rate, or to extend the present four-hour window from 6 am to 10 am to six hours from 6 am to 12 noon to enable people to move around for buying essential things besides opening of parks and allowing operation of auto-rickshaws and cabs from 6 am to 6 pm while continuing the night curfew.
However, what is bothering the government on whether to allow inter-district movement and the likely repercussions of such a move. There are also suggestions to enforce strict lockdown restrictions in the taluks having high positivity rates while allowing relaxations in other taluks, which is considered impractical as chances of movement of people and vehicles cannot be restricted, the sources said.
Relaxation from lockdown certain
But the Chief Minister is certainly expected to announce some sort of relaxations in the lockdown conditions in the evening.
The Chief Minister pointed out that the total number of Covid cases in the State have come down but the eight districts had as many as 65,000 cases. The infection rate is coming down in these days and it is necessary to bring down the positivity rate below 5%.
The strict lockdown restrictions enforced in the State have resulted in bringing down the infection rates, the Chief Minister said expressing concern over the high positivity rates in the 8 districts where the number of cases were not coming down as expected.
What is causing concern is the fact that barring Mysuru, more Covid infection cases are reported in rural areas than in the urban pockets, the Chief Minister said.
High positivity rates in Chikkamagaluru, Mysuru
The Chief Minister said the average positivity rate was the highest in the first week of June in Chkkamagaluru, which has an average positivity rate of 25.17%. Even Mysuru district has a high positivity rare of 22%.
In Chikkamagaluru district, for every Covid positive case as many as 6.1% of infected cases have been detected during the week, the Chief Minister said emphasizing the need to take strict measures to bring down the positivity rate in Chikkamagaluru and other 7 districts.
The Deputy Commissioners and Health officials under the supervision of the concerned district in-charge ministers must take measures to strictly enforce the lockdown restrictions and prevent unnecessary movement of people. The Covid guidelines of compulsory wearing of masks, social distancing and sanitization must be stringently followed, especially in the Micro Containment Zones.
“The focus should be on bringing down the positivity rate,’’ the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister took note of the fact that Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) have been sharply increased in Hassan, Belagavi and other districts where the RAT testing is around 30% as per the government guidelines.
However, it is necessary to increase RAT testing by another 70% to identify the infected cases. The tests must be done only on people showing Covid symptoms to prevent delays in getting results due to workload, he said.
Yediyurappa asked the district Deputy Commissioners and District in Charge Ministers to take necessary steps to get RAT testing results within 24 hours and ensure that all the Covid positive cases were immediately admitted in the Covid Care Centres.
The Chief Minister also directed the district Deputy Commissioners and District in-Charge Ministers to take to carry out special vaccination drives, especially in Belagavi where the vaccination was not up to mark.