With cases of COVID-19 on a four-month-high in Karnataka, there are rumours of an impending lockdown every day. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan, however, told TNM that there is no question of another lockdown. Insisting that the government will look at spreading awareness and vaccinating more people to curb the growing numbers, Ashwathnarayan said the onus henceforth will be on self-regulation.
“There will not be another lockdown. We will only ask people to be more cautious, wear masks. Lives and livelihoods have to go on. Restrictions will not be successful in the long-term, it can only postpone things. We are not interested in closing theatres. Self-regulation is important. People should not conduct massive functions. Now, the only solution is to make people more responsible. We need to create awareness,” Ashwathnarayan told TNM.
Shortage of vaccines has been reported in many parts of Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru. But Ashwathnarayan said that the Karnataka government is not, at this time, short on vaccines. He also added that the next consignment of vaccines will arrive soon. “The third set of vaccines will be released. Vaccines are being produced on a large scale. Very soon, we will start vaccinating people of all age groups. I think over 10 crores people per month can get vaccinated in the third phase. Manufacturing has been ramped up,” said the Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister.
While confirming that the order for universal vaccination can be expected soon, Ashwathnarayan said, “Karnataka can definitely handle a large number of people getting vaccinated. We don't have a shortage of manpower or infrastructure. But not enough people are coming forward to get vaccinated”.
For the first time since November 2020, on Tuesday, Karnataka reported more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases in a day. Since then, the numbers have been consistently high. The state government has announced that the second wave is in the offing and has mandated that all passengers travelling to Karnataka from any other state in India will need to undergo RT-PCR tests and show a negative report. Earlier, the state government had made it compulsory for passengers from Punjab, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Kerala to carry a negative RT-PCR test report before they could enter Karnataka.