Karnataka has formed citizen squads to monitor those in home quarantine in Bengaluru.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa urges Bengaluru residents to maintain physical distancing
Coronavirus Coronavirus Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 11:45

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa tweeted on Thursday, stating that home quarantine rules would become more stringent henceforth. The state government has now started a citizen-run home quarantine squad in Bengaluru, where volunteers can register on the Citizen Quarantine Squad website

He further stated that he would convene a meeting with ministers, health department officials and experts at his home-office Krishna at 1 pm after the cabinet meeting. 

“The COVID-19 cases are increasing in Karnataka, especially Bengaluru and we have sealed certains areas as well. Karnataka has been a model in handling the crisis when compared to other states. We have not lost control of the situation, however, the number of cases have increased in the last 15 days. Today and tomorrow, we will hold meetings to discuss the scenario and see whether we have to take strict measures to curb it,” BS Yediyurappa said. 

The Chief Minister further stated that although lockdown norms were relaxed, people were violating physical distancing norms. “Although we have relaxed the lockdown norms considerably in the last two weeks, people have not been maintaining physical distance. If Bengaluru should not be sealed down again, then I request people to maintain physical distance,” BS Yediyurappa added. 

Speaking to TNM, a cabinet minister said that most of the ministers are not in favour of imposing another lockdown. “We cannot bear the economic fallout of another lockdown. In addition, the COVID-19 task force is also not in favour of another lockdown. What is more important is that we have to figure out how to enforce the guidelines. The expert committee has suggested stringent measures for home quarantine. We have to discuss and see what we can do to ensure safety and also keep economic activity going,” the minister said. 

The need for a Citizen Quarantine Squad

The Citizen Quarantine Squad will be micromanaged at the booth-level, where volunteers registering would be put in charge of monitoring 50-100 houses in a locality to ensure that those in home quarantine are not violating norms. Each member will be allocated houses that they must monitor and any violation will be reported to the jurisdictional surveillance officers. Though there are concerns of ostracisation and legitimising snooping on neighbours, the state government says this is the best solution as too many people are violating norms.

Data released by the Karnataka government on June 22 showed that there were 1.31 lakh total violations in home quarantine of which 58,832 home quarantine violations were reported in Bengaluru.

 

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