COVID-19: Differing voices emerge on lockdown, other measures in Karnataka

A virtual all-party meeting being held on Tuesday to discuss the COVID-19 crisis in the State.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The all-party meeting chaired by Governor Vajubhai Vala on the COVID-19 situation in the State had leaders reaching no consensus on the “strong measures” to be taken by the State government for containing the rise in cases. While the Congress favoured stricter implementation of the recommendations of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), the JD(S) suggested a total lockdown for 15 days.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, who opposed the meeting chaired by the Governor to start with, suggested that the government put off all upcoming elections to urban and rural local bodies such as zilla and taluk panchayats. Testing should be made mandatory for people visiting from other States, he said.

He also said the government should go for stricter implementation of the recommendations of the TAC, while night curfew and lockdown were not solutions. The government showed laxity in the implementation of the suggestions made by the TAC in November last on the possible second wave of COVID-19, he charged.

Another former Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy, strongly favoured a total lockdown and urged the government to provide financial support to the poor for one month for the purchase of essential items. He suggested that the government stop development works this year and focus on providing better health infrastructure.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar said the government had failed to contain the virus since it was unable to fix the accountability among the Ministers. He suggested stricter execution of actions based on the TAC report and also stoppage of development works for the next one year.

The Governor and Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 and participated in meeting virtually, heard the various suggestions made by the leaders of the Opposition parties. In his address, he said the government would take further steps considering the directions of the Governor and the Opposition leaders.

During the past one year, infrastructure development in government hospitals was taken up on priority basis and as a result, there was a 12% increase in beds while the number of oxygenated beds had increased manifold with 29,667 beds. “An order has been issued to reserve 50% of the beds in private hospitals for COVID-19 patients. There is also no shortage of Remdesivir,” he said.

Earlier, Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar presented a report about COVID-19 cases in the State and the measures taken to control further spread of infections.

Governor’s advice

The Governor suggested that the State government to take strong steps for “a healthy Karnataka and not wealthy Karnataka”. In a press release, he said he had suggested to the government to take some strong steps and precautionary measures. The Governor chaired the 150-minute virtual meeting from the Raj Bhavan.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 10:39:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covid-19-differing-voices-emerge-on-lockdown-other-measures-in-karnataka/article34371027.ece

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