KARNATAKA

Did taking part in four public events in a week prove too risky for Yediyurappa?

Health Department officials are grappling with the question of how Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa contracted COVID-19. Given that the Chief Minister, who had desisted from attending any public event since March, suddenly seemed to return to normality and attended four events in the past week, contact tracing may be an impossible task, a senior official said. “He most likely contracted the infection from one of these events,” the official said.

“In hindsight, the public engagements over the past one week were definitely ill-advised.But given we had unlocked the economy, he was keen to be seen in public to give out a message of confidence to the people of the State to resume work by taking all precautions. That seems to have backfired,” said one of Mr. Yediyurappa’s close associates.

Ever since he imposed a lockdown in the State in mid-March, the Chief Minister had limited his public interactions to holding review meetings and meeting the press at his home office Krishna. He first ventured out on an inspection on July 10 of the COVID Care Centre at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre and immediately went into home quarantine the next day, as three of his staff members tested positive. He resumed work after four days when he tested negative.

“Given his exposure and vulnerability, the Chief Minister was being tested every Sunday. He had tested negative last Sunday, but tested positive on August 2, clearly narrowing the window of when he contracted the infection,” a source close to his family said.

The intervening week saw an unusually “outgoing” Chief Minister who attended four public events, even as the number of COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru city rose.

He performed bhoomi puja for a life sciences park and inaugurated metro tunnelling work and a Keonics building, apart from presiding over a function marking one year of his government, all in a matter of four days. All these programmes were attended by a large number ofpeople, raising red flags. He also met Governor Vajubhai Vala and felicitated scientist K. Kasturirangan on Friday for the successful adoption of the National Education Policy by the Union government.All of them are considered his contacts now.

Daughter tests positive

Mr. Yediyurappa’s daughter B.Y. Padmavati has also tested positive for COVID-19.

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