BBMP proposes to shut Bengaluru gyms, limit theatre crowds due to COVID-19 spread

However, CM Yediyurappa said that theatre occupancy would not be capped, and urged people to abide by government guidelines.
COVID-19 testing personnel
COVID-19 testing personnel
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Owing to the surge in cases of COVID-19 in Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) reportedly said that it will send a proposal to the state government seeking fresh restrictions. 

BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad said on Friday that recommendations such as restricting capacity in theatres by 50%, decreasing the limit for guests at weddings and shutdown of common areas of residential buildings will be sought. He told reporters that they were contemplating recommending the government to close down gyms, swimming pools, and open-air gyms in parks.  

Prasad said that reducing the occupancy in cinema halls to 50% and leaving alternate seats vacant was also another likely recommendation. Gyms in BBMP parks should also be closed as these are commonly used and could lead to transmissions, Commissioner told the media.

The civic body chief said that five zones -- east, west, south, Mahadevapura, and Bommanahalli -- have been reporting more than 100 cases a day.

However, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said on Thursday that theatre hall occupancy in the state would not be restricted to 50% though there has been a spurt in COVID-19 cases in the state. He also urged theatre owners, the viewers and the general public to abide by all the government guidelines to help control the spread of the pandemic.

"There is no such proposal before the government to allow a maximum of 50 per cent occupancy in cinema theatres," he tweeted after it was reported that such a move was on the cards.

Noting that COVID-19 cases are again on the rise, the CM, in an open letter to the public, posted on Twitter, said the government has taken all necessary steps to contain the pandemic. However it would not be possible without people's support, he said.

Asking people to wear facemasks, maintain hand hygiene and follow social distancing, he requested the elderly and people above 45 years with comorbidities to get vaccinated.

BBMP commissioner Manjunath Prasad told reporters that contact tracing of the 925 cases reported on Thursday revealed that the maximum was from apartments due to partying and various events.

Speaking of the family which was asked to be home quarantined but went to visit an ISKCON temple and later tested positive, the Commissioner said: "How can such gross negligence be tolerated? If the same thing continues, then there is no option but to enforce lockdown."

People staying in the apartment were asked to follow strict home quarantine after a person living in the same building tested positive on March 8, a week after he returned from Kerala, a BBMP official said. However, the family broke quarantine rules to visit the temple on March 9 and developed symptoms on March 14.

BBMP will abide by whatever decision is taken by the government," he said. 

He said the civic agency was making arrangements to increase testing and would deploy more 'corona warriors' in areas where more cases have been reported and focus on conducting vaccinations in these places.

A round of preliminary discussions had already taken place between Bengaluru civic body officials and top officials of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, he further added. Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar reportedly said that an appropriate decision will be taken after discussing the matter in detail with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. 

The number of cases in the city, which had been below the 300-mark for more than three months, saw a sharp rise this month, crossing the 600-mark on March 14 and 900 on March 18.

With PTI inputs

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