Amid speculation about the extension of the lockdown in Karnataka, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday hinted that strict measures may continue, saying coronavirus cases have not completely come under control and that cases are still high in rural areas. However, he indicated that relaxation may be given to certain sectors, as he announced that export oriented businesses will be allowed to operate from Thursday. The state is currently under lockdown till June 7 and there are speculations about it being extended.
"I will have a discussion with everyone to make a decision on measures that need to be taken regarding lockdown. Most importantly, I have decided to give permission to those involved in exports.So export oriented business will be allowed from Thursday," Yediyurappa said. Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said he will hold a discussion on various other related things with senior ministers and officials, and by Thursday or Friday, a decision over the lockdown will be communicated.
"I will discuss how to go about, by extending the lockdown and taking strict measures, with experts and will take a call after taking their suggestions. We will take a decision considering how to balance things and go ahead," he added.
The CM is chairing separate meetings with experts, senior Ministers and officials on Thursday evening. The state's COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), consisting of experts, in its report to the government has mentioned that the positivity rate has to come below 5% and number of cases should be below 5,000, and only then the restrictions can be relaxed. Karnataka recorded 16,387 cases on Wednesday with 4,095 cases in Bengaluru. The test positivity rate was 11.5% on the day.
The state government had initially announced a 14-day lockdown from April 27, but subsequently imposed a complete lockdown from May 10 to 24, as COVID-19 cases continued to spike. It was later further extended till June 7.
Responding to a question regarding the second lockdown relief package, the Chief Minister said that he will take a decision on it in a few days. Yediyurappa had earlier said that a second financial package for the COVID-induced lockdown was under consideration, and is aimed at providing relief to certain sections left out of the first one.