Curfew: Decision on fresh guidelines expected today

Basavaraj Bommai

Basavaraj Bommai

Amidst mounting pressure to withdraw weekend and night curfews, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will chair a top-level meeting of experts, senior bureaucrats, and Ministers to review the COVID-19 situation and restrictions in the State on Friday morning. The government is expected to issue fresh guidelines on Friday evening.

On the eve of the crucial meeting, the Union Health secretary categorised Karnataka as one of the six “States of concern” over rising COVID-19 cases.

High caseload

Both Karnataka and Bengaluru, that has been contributing the most to the caseload in the State, recorded a big jump in the number of cases reported - the State reported 47,754 cases and Bengaluru 30,540 cases - both highest during the third wave. However, the Test Positivity Rate has seen a slight decline from 18.8% on Wednesday to 18.48% on Thursday. Bengaluru also breached the all-time high of 26,756 cases reported in a day on April 30, 2021, at the peak of the second wave.

Sources said internal studies by the Government indicate both the city and the State are far from the peak of the third wave. The COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has projected two scenarios – that the third wave will peak in the State at 80,000 cases/day in the best-case scenario and the peak may go up to 1.2 lakh cases/day in the worst-case scenario. The peak is expected by the first or second week of February. This has prompted a conservative opinion “to continue restrictions, including curfews, for at least two more weeks” to prevail among the bureaucracy, sources said.

However, the Chief Minister is under severe pressure not just from the affected industry segments – hospitality and trader bodies – but also from within his own party to end all forms of curfews. Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, Mysuru MP Pratap Simha, and BJP national general secretary C. T. Ravi have voiced their opinions batting for the end of all curfews, over the last three days.

“It is a tight rope walk for the Chief Minister. Though he is under pressure from multiple quarters to relax restrictions, politically he will be held responsible if the situation goes out of hand,” a senior strategist of BJP said.

Speaking to media persons on Wednesday, Mr. Bommai hinted at relaxing restrictions when he said the experts were themselves divided and some felt since the infection was mild and hospitalisation was not high, it would be better to carry on with life adhering to COVID Appropriate Behaviour.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 12:49:30 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/curfew-decision-on-fresh-guidelines-expected-today/article38299840.ece