B’luru to be divided into zones to contain COVID-19: Minister

Alarmed over surging COVID-19 cases, the Karnataka government has decided to divide this tech city into containment zones to curb the spread of the pandemic, a state minister said on Thursday.

“The city will be divided into red, orange and yellow zones in commensurate with the number of Covid cases in them for containing the virus spread on war footing,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J.C. Madhuswamy told reporters here.

Cabinet ministers representing assembly segments in the city will be in-charge of the zones to ensure the cases are curbed with strict enforcement of lockdown guidelines, especially wearing mask and maintaining social distancing by the people in the confinement areas.

“Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has convened a meeting of ministers, MLAs, MPs and corporators of all the 198 civic wards across the city on Friday to discuss and draw an action plan to contain the pandemic,” said Madhuswamy.

With 1,148 positive cases, the city’s Covid tally rose to 12,509 and active to 10,103, while 2,228 were discharged, including 418 on Wednesday, while 177 succumbed to the infection since March 9, with 23 in the last 24 hours.

“The Chief Minister ordered deploying more ambulances in the containment areas where cases have been spiking daily to rush Covid patients to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment,” said Madhuswamy.

The city civic corporation — Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) –has increased the containment zones to 3,181 due to more cases spiking, with southern and western suburbs accounting for most infections.

“The containment zones are concentrated more in the city’s southern and western suburbs. Active cases doubled over the last 8 days and shot up to a whopping 12,509 from 4,555 on June 30,” an official said.

Refuting graft charges by opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah in the purchase of medical equipment for treatment of Covid patients, Madhuswamy said the state government had not spent more than Rs 600 crore so far.

“We are running a government. Not a private office. We will give account. He (Siddaramaiah) is welcome to check the accounts and verify the documents,” asserted the minister.

In a related development, the cabinet also approved an ordinance to increase the state contingency fund to Rs 500 crore from Rs 80 crore for the Covid-19 induced economic relief measures announced by the chief minister in June.