2nd lockdown relief package under consideration: K'taka CM

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Bengaluru, May 24 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday said a second financial package for the COVID-induced lockdown was under consideration.

This package is aimed at providing relief to certain sections left out of the first one, he said.

The Chief Minister said the COVID situation has improved with oxygenated and ICU beds being available to patients in need and on time.

Further noting that the steady decline in daily COVID cases, especially in cities like Bengaluru, was a bit of an ease, he, however, said the situation in rural areas is not satisfying, and people there need to be more cautious.

'Within the financial limitations, I have done my duty. It is known to everyone what Siddaramaiah (leader of opposition) did while in power, I have done it (announced the package) within the limitations,' Yediyurappa said in response to a question about the criticism of the Leader of the Opposition against the package.

Speaking to reporters here, the Chief Minister said, 'Still several sections have not got the package, I'm thinking about them, in 10-12 days I will try to announce another package for some of them.' As the State is battling the second wave of the pandemic, he had last week announced an over Rs 1,250-crore financial package as relief for those whose livelihood has been affected by the lockdown.

Siddaramaiah has called the package as meagre and unscientific, and expressed doubts about it reaching the people in need.

The Chief Minister today visited Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) COVID call centre and inspected its functioning.

Noting that oxygen beds are available and the shortage is very less, Yediyurappa said efforts are being made to provide ICU beds as per the requirement.

At 28 COVID Care Centres (CCCs) in Bengaluru, 3,000 beds are available, out of which 1,000 are oxygenated beds, he said, adding all necessary requirements like food, doctors and nurses, among others, have been made available.

'Most importantly, people living in villages, also slums in cities or urban areas, should come to CCCs, as they will not have facilities for home isolation, with houses being small, and it may lead to further spread of infection,' he said, adding that all arrangements would be made at CCCs for them.

The Chief Minister, during his visit to the call centre, received a call requesting for an ICU bed, and ensured that it was arranged for the patient concerned.

'The situation is not like earlier, it has drastically improved. I seek everyone's cooperation in controlling COVID,' he said, adding that strict measures are being taken by extending the lockdown, and if people cooperate, things may come under control in 15 days.

Karnataka would remain under lockdown till June 7 to contain the spread of COVID-19, with the government extending it recently.

The lockdown was to have ended today.

To a question on vaccination availability with people being sent back stating shortage or lack of stock at hospitals, Yediyurappa said, 'It is true there is shortage in what is coming, I'm not denying it. We have requested Delhi (Centre) to give us more vaccines in the days to come, as and when we will get we will start administering them.' In response to a question about BJP central leadership evaluating the performance of Ministers in his cabinet, he said, 'There is no truth in it, it is only speculation, there is no need to bother.' PTI KSU NVG NVG

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