No relaxation in new COVID-19 guidelines: Karnataka Minister

Health Minister K Sudhakar said that the situation will be reviewed before April 20.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar
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Stating there will be no relaxation of the new set of guidelines issued by the state government, Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Saturday said it was inevitable to take certain strict measures to ensure things don't go out of control. Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru he said the guidelines have been issued on the advice of the technical advisory committee consisting of experts and if the situation is under control by April 20, activities will be allowed to resume.

"The government is not happy to restrict activities. I have been requesting through the media for the last one month that a second wave is at our doorstep and if we don't understand and take precautionary measures, the government will have no other options and may have to take serious measures," Sudhakar said.

Sudhakar said Karnataka was the first state to resume all the business activities, but the state is today reporting about 5,000 cases per day and 3,500 of them are from Bengaluru alone.

"The technical advisory committee has said this will be there for another two months, till the May end and the graph will start declining from June first week. If we don't take measures and something untoward happens, won't it be the government's responsibility?" he asked.

Aimed at curbing COVID-19 with the spike in cases, the government on Friday in a new set of guidelines had ordered the closure of gyms and swimming pools while capping the seating capacity in theatres at 50 per cent in certain districts. It has also ordered apartment complexes to shut common facilities such as gyms, swimming pools party halls and clubhouses.

The new restrictions imposed by the government through the guidelines will be in force till April 20.

Noting that the government has issued guidelines after getting several reports from the technical advisory committee, and after consulting senior officials and ministers, Sudhakar said it was not done at one go.

"People from several sectors are saying their activities should not be restricted and should go on freely. Yes, the government too understands, but things should not go out of our control, so it was inevitable for the government to take certain strict measures. We request for cooperation from everyone," he said.

The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce has decided to meet Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to bring to his notice about the impact of capping the seating capacity in theatres at 50%, on the industry, and is likely to seek relaxation so that it doesn't impact films that have just been released.

Bengaluru gym owners have demanded the government to reconsider the decision or allow them to operate with 50 % capacity or announce a package so that they can make payment for staff and use it for maintenance.

There is pressure from some private schools to allow them to function, similar to the demand from gym owners and film associations, Sudhakar said.

"These measures are not permanent, let's follow these temporary measures for some days. I'm not saying that COVID- 19 spread can be controlled 100% by these measures, but we can try to bring things under control," he said.

Responding to a question, the Minister said there are guidelines for elections, and religious places too.

"The government is only trying to control this pandemic that's all, there is no politics or any malicious intent behind this," he said, as he evaded questions on night curfew or weekend lockdown stating that he doesn't want to speak on what measures will be taken in the future.

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