Karnataka to decide on full lockdown, free vaccination policy in key Cabinet meet

The state Cabinet is scheduled to meet at 11 am on Monday.
Open air meeting held by Karnatak CM BS Yediyurappa
Open air meeting held by Karnatak CM BS Yediyurappa
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A decision on imposing lockdown-like restrictions on all days of the week in Karnataka, which is facing a huge spike in COVID-19 cases, is likely to be taken by the state Cabinet on April 26. Karnataka reported a record high of 34,804 new COVID-19 cases as recorded in the April 25 bulletin, (the cases are from April 24) out of which 20,733 are from Bengaluru alone. 

While ministers on Sunday said a decision in this regard was likely during the Cabinet meeting, official sources said another one on the matter of free of cost vaccinations might also be taken.

"Weekend curfew restrictions are in place till May 4 and as per the guidelines, it will be there next Saturday, Sunday also. Discussions are on whether to enforce a curfew on weekdays, whether to go for complete lockdown or not," Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar said.

Speaking to reporters in Dharwad, he said it would be discussed at the cabinet meeting tomorrow, following which Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa would announce the decision.

"We are not in favour of lockdown, but the situation is such that we have to impose restrictions to bring things under control...we have to break the chain, it is a matter of 10-12 days, let's see... once the numbers (cases) come down, restrictions will also reduce," he added.

According to COVID-19 guidelines that are in place from April 21 to May 4, a night curfew has been imposed in the entire state from 9 pm to 6 am every day and there will be a weekend curfew from Friday 9 pm to Monday 6 am.

During the weekend curfew that began on Friday night, Bengaluru and most other parts of the state wore a deserted look with businesses and restaurants remaining shut and vehicles staying off the roads.

Barring the 6 am to 10 am period when the public was allowed to purchase essential items like milk, groceries and vegetables, among others, people largely stayed indoors and cooperated by following the restrictions.

Stating that no decision has yet been taken by the government on lockdown, Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan said it would discuss and make a decision, based on what the Chief Minister or the Health Minister places before the cabinet on this issue. He said suggestions have been put forward for a "Janata curfew," wherein people voluntarily decide not to come out unnecessarily.

However, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said "such proposals (lockdown) did not come during yesterday's meeting. So I don't want to comment on speculations. For now, things will continue as it is."

The state government had last week imposed night and weekend curfew amid intense speculation that it may go for lockdown-like restrictions in Bengaluru and few other places, with former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy too demanding for it.

State Congress President DK Shivakumar had subsequently said it seemed that the government, which had planned to impose lockdown last week, changed it, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation, during which he requested states to use it as a last resort.

(With PTI inputs)

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