The Bengaluru Police has used Section 144(1) of CrPC in Bengaluru in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city. According to the order, operations of amenities like gyms, swimming pools and party halls in residential complexes, within the city limits, has been restricted to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is to be noted that section 144 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure has been imposed which allows authorities to curb certain activities. Section 144 of CrPC that stops assembly of people has not been invoked yet.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Karnataka government stated that rallies and demonstrations for any purpose by any group will remain prohibited across the city till April 20. "Public functions and group prayers or any type of celebration in places of worship are also banned till April 20 to check the infection," said Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant. On Tuesday, Bengaluru had reported 4,266 news cases, taking the total number of active cases in the city to 32,605.
This comes days after the Karnataka government issued new guidelines over rising COVID-19 cases in the state. Karnataka government had ordered the closure of gyms and swimming pools and a reduction in the seating capacity of pubs, bars and theatres to 50%. Later, the government delayed its order to limit occupancy in theatres by five days and allowed gyms to reopen but function at 50 percent capacity.
Bengaluru also reported a new COVID-19 cluster on Tuesday in Chickpet area, with 39 residents of an apartment building testing positive for the coronavirus. Many small COVID-19 clusters have been reported in the city as Karnataka witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases since March. On March 29, the number of active COVID-19 clusters stood at 29. It had risen to 29 from 14 within a week’s time. These reports are mostly from Dasarahalli and Yelahanka zones and most of the clusters were reported in residential complexes, according to the Bengaluru civic body’s War Room Report. The Karnataka government on March 30 banned parties and celebrations in apartments until further notice as a measure.
Physical classes for students from Class 6 to 9, including Vidyagama, were suspended and Classes 10, 11 and 12 were allowed to continue in the existing mode. However, attending these classes in person is not mandatory. Classes of higher and professional courses have been suspended, except classes due for Board or University examinations and of Health Sciences will continue. Boarding schools and residential hostels have been closed, except for the students of Classes 10, 11, 12 and for students of higher and professional courses appearing in Board and University examination and Health Sciences.
To ensure the enforcement of the new rules, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has decided to deploy more home guards to ensure that residents follow safety protocol including wearing masks. The civic body had written a letter to the Commandant General of Home Guards in Bengaluru, requesting 2,000 more personnel to enforce the rules.
Officials of the BBMP of Mahadevapura, Dasarahalli and West Zone conducted raids on several businesses at different locations in their respective zones. The raids were to check if the businesses followed COVID-19 Appropriate Behavior (CAB), which includes wearing masks and following proper physical distancing. During the raids, the officers either imposed a penalty on the businesses or enforced closure of businesses that failed to follow CAB.