Lockdown in Bengaluru is now inevitable, say some experts

Updated - April 20, 2021 07:59 am IST

Published - April 19, 2021 11:36 pm IST - Bengaluru

View of Bengaluru during the lockdown in April 2020. File

View of Bengaluru during the lockdown in April 2020. File

A complete lockdown in Bengaluru has become inevitable now to cut the transmission chain and the State government should consider it seriously, say a few COVID-19 experts. This is because the city’s health infrastructure can no longer take the load. With no availability of oxygen, ICU and ICU-ventilator beds in hospitals, it has become a scary situation, experts opine.

V. Ravi, member, State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, said that with the situation going out of control and cases surging beyond projections, a lockdown was inevitable in Bengaluru.

TAC member Giridhar R. Babu, who heads Lifecourse Epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India in Bengaluru, said a total lockdown of 14 days had become essential now to reduce the speed of transmission. “This is my opinion. We need to enhance the bed capacity by using facilities in medical colleges at the earliest,” he said.

TAC recommendations

Meanwhile, the TAC recommended a revision of existing night curfew timings and weekend janata curfews. All cinemas, drama theatres, and auditoriums, amusement parks, parks, arcades, video game parlours, clubs, swimming pools, gyms and sports complexes should be closed till May 31, the TAC recommended.

In its report, the TAC said there should be strict enforcement of restrictions in public areas and Section 144 should be imposed with immediate effect till May 31. “The daily night curfew should be from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and weekend janata curfews on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 p.m. of Friday till 6 a.m. of Monday. All shops, malls, shopping complexes and business establishments should remain closed. However, essential commodities and services should be provided during fixed hours. Public transport should also be restricted to the prescribed seating capacity,” the report stated.

Recommending that offices and workplaces use staggered timings and work from home options, the TAC report stated that all bars and pubs should be closed. Restaurants, including darshinis/fast food joints, should provide takeaway/parcel services.

“All places of worship should remain closed to the public. However, daily rituals can be performed following strict COVID-19 protocols. Barber shops, spas, salons and beauty parlours should function at 50% capacity and following COVID-19 precautions,” the report stated.

It also said all schools and colleges (except health sciences) should remain closed, but online and distance education mode of learning can continue. The examinations, if scheduled, should be postponed. “All religious, social, cultural, and political functions and gatherings should be strictly not allowed. However, family and small functions can be permitted with 50 guests for indoor and 100 for outdoor events,” the report stated.

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