KARNATAKA

Top tier of administration confused about protocols

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s office at Vidhana Soudha was closed on Monday after he was hospitalised on testing positive for COVID-19.V. Sreenivasa MurthyV Sreenivasa Murthy

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s office at Vidhana Soudha was closed on Monday after he was hospitalised on testing positive for COVID-19.V. Sreenivasa MurthyV Sreenivasa Murthy  

Confusion has gripped the top tier of the State administration, who were contacts of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, on the protocols to be followed now.

Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol, Ministers Basavaraj Bommai,R. Ashok, and Byrati Basavaraj have announced that they would be self-isolating. However, another Deputy Chief Minister, Laxman Savadi, who met Mr. Yediyurappa on Saturday, inaugurated an ARTO office at Athani on Monday and claimed that he need not undergo quarantine as he had metthe Chief Minister “from a safe distance”.

However, senior bureaucrats in the government have batted for tweaking the self-isolation protocols and for going for immediate testing of all the contacts, considering this as an exceptional case. “If all the contacts of the Chief Minister were to be quarantined, almost the entire top tier of the State’s administration will have to go into quarantine, which will hit the smooth functioning of the administration,” a senior official said.

Mr. Yediyurappa’s Cabinet colleagues and senior bureaucrats, including the Chief Secretary, are now lining up for COVID-19 tests — both rapid antigen and RT-PCR. These samples will be tested on a priority basis and he results declared in a 24-hour window. Those who test negative will continue working by taking all precautions, while those who test positive will follow the appropriate medical treatment protocol, sources said. “I got myself a rapid antigen test this morning and I tested negative,” Mr. Vijay Bhaskar told The Hindu . Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan also underwent a rapid antigen test, tested negative, and carried on with his work as usual. “This is the only feasible way to prevent a big impact on the State’s administration,” a senior official in the Chief Minister’s Office said.

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