14-day lockdown kicks in Covid-hit Karnataka

The 14-day lockdown to contain the Coronavirus spread amid the pandemic’s second wave began across Karnataka on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. and will be in force till 6 a.m. on May 12.

“As decided by the state cabinet on Monday, the 14-day lockdown has come into effect from Tuesday night and will continue till May 12 morning to break the chain of Covid transmission across the state and reduce the number of Covid cases,” an official told IANS here.

As per the stringent guidelines issued in an order by state chief secretary P. Ravi Kumar on Monday, the lockdown will force people to stay home, as public transport, including buses, taxis, autos and private vehicles will not be allowed to operate over the next two weeks except for 4 hours during the day.

“As notified, people will be able to buy their daily needs for 4 hours from 6-10 a.m., as markets and shops selling essential needs like milk, groceries, eggs, fish, meat, vegetables and fruits are allowed to function,” said the official.

As night curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. has been in force across the state since April 20 to May 4, it will continue till May 12 morning with essential services and select economic activities exempted from the lockdown.

“Police have been directed to prevent movement of all types of vehicles except for emergency purposes when a patient needs to be rushed to hospital for treatment,” noted the official.

Racing against time before the lockdown began, thousands of people, including migrants rushed during the day to railway stations and inter-state and intra-state bus terminals in cities across the state to reach their native places within the state or in the neighbouring states.

Fearing that the 14-day lockdown may be extended if Covid cases don’t decline by May 12, hundreds of families, especially bachelors and students left this tech city with luggage to their homes in towns and villages across the state.

“Schools, colleges, cinema theatres, malls, gyms, hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs and non-essential shops will remain shut during the lockdown,” said the official.

Students appearing for scheduled exams are, however, allowed to travel in their own or private vehicles with their hall ticket as pass to commute.

Banks, ATMs, insurance offices, e-commerce firms, facilities in supply chain of essential goods, cold storage and warehousing are allowed to operate during the fortnight shutdown.

Hotels, restaurants and eateries are permitted to operate only kitchens for take-aways or home delivery of food items. Service will not be allowed in their premises.

According to the state health bulletin, a record 31,830 new Covid cases were reported in a day, taking the state’s Covid tally to 14,00,775, including 3,01,899 active cases.

As epicentre of the pandemic in the state, Bengaluru registered 17,550 fresh cases on Monday, taking its Covid tally to 6,87,751, including 2,06,223 active cases.

Of 180 lives lost to the infection on Tuesday, 97 were from Bengaluru, taking the state’s death toll to 14,807 and the city’s toll to 6,002 since the pandemic broke out in March a year ago.