Karnatakaâ€™s COVID-19 numbers have been on a steady rise since the onset of the second wave of the coronavirus. As the Karnataka government has imposed night curfew till April 20, TNM has learnt that the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has been pushing for increased restrictions, including curfew to curb the number of cases. Two members of the TAC have confirmed to TNM that they have repeatedly recommended a ban on assembly of people in public places and want the government to impose Section 144. The government is likely to take a decision only after the all-party meet in Bengaluru on April 18.
For over a month now, even before the neighbouring state of Maharashtra announced curfew across the state, the team of experts advising the Karnataka government - TAC - has been pushing for more restrictions while continuing to allow businesses to function. A key member of the TAC speaking to TNM said that while they have not asked for a total lockdown, they have been unanimous in their advice that every other option should be explored. The committee has also said that Section 144 will help to prevent any formation or assembly including political rallies. â€śWe donâ€™t want any economic activity stalled. There is no recommendation given even to shut malls, etc. As long as the norms of social distancing are followed and people wear masks, these activities can continue,â€ť the member said.
Meanwhile, most of the ministers in the Karnataka Cabinet, including Chief Minister Yediyurappa, have been against increased restrictions. Apart from being worried about the huge impact a lockdown or even slowing down of businesses will have on the stateâ€™s economy, the government is also worried about citizens panicking, said a source in the CMO. Most cabinet ministers except for Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar have expressed the same opinion to the Chief Minister, said the source.
Two independent sources in the CMO and the Health Department have confirmed to TNM that Dr Sudhakar has been in agreement with the TAC and has been batting for restrictions. His colleagues like Dr Ashwath Narayan, R Ashoka, Jagadish Shettar and several others do not want any restrictions imposed.
On April 14, Karnataka reported 11,265 new cases of coronavirus infections of which 8,155 patients were from Bengaluru city alone.