COVID-19: K'taka govt to announce strict measures today

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Karnataka government would announce strict COVID-19 containment measures in the State on Tuesday after Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's meeting with the Governor Vajubhai Vala and leaders of political parties.

     There are indications that there may not be a complete lockdown with opposition to it from within the government and also from the opposition parties.

    'Legislators and leaders suggested to not go into lockdown as it will affect the poor. The Chief Minister, undergoing treatment (for COVID-19) at a hospital, participated in the meeting today and took note of the suggestions,' Revenue Minister R Ashoka said.

   After meeting with MLAs, MPs and Ministers from Bengaluru on the COVID-19 spike in the city, he told reporters that the Chief Minister would have a virtual discussion with the Governor and opposition parties on Tuesday after which he would announce the COVID-19 control measures.

   'The next two months are crucial to manage things during this period and to take certain stringent steps, meetings are being held with leaders of all parties today and tomorrow,' he said.

  The Governor would preside over a virtual meeting with floor leaders of both Houses of the State Legislature on April 20 to discuss the COVID-19 situation.

  Meanwhile, a copy of guidelines imposing State-wide night curfew was circulated in the social media and whatsapp groups, but the Chief Minister's office said no such guidelines were issued.

  The corona curfew between 10 PM and 5 AM, currently in place in seven district centres, along with Manipal, comes to an end on Tuesday.

 The Revenue Minister said while some legislators were in favour of extending night curfew, some opposed it. But no one spoke about the weekend lockdown, he said.

  Senior Congress legislator and former Minister Ramalinga Reddy hit out at the government for not taking adequate measures or preparations for the second wave of the virus.

  'There are no answers to the questions posed to the government. To cover up their failures, they have symbolically called us for a meeting. If you (govt) impose lockdown, give Rs 25,000 for every family as was sought by us,' he said.

  Another senior Congress MLA Krishna Byre Gowda said, 'At the meeting, we asked as to why precautionary measures were not taken during the last two months despite the threats of a second wave looming large. It looked like they had called the meeting to escape from its responsibility,' he said.

  Giving details of the meeting, Ashoka claimed MLAs appreciated the measures taken by the government during the first wave and sought similar measures during the second wave.

  Concerns over shortage of oxygen supply were expressed, he said.

  'We have enough oxygen, but hospitals don't have capacity to store it. There is no issue with the big hospitals, but with small hospitals, yes the oxygen has to go in cylinders, so we have appointed nodal officers and have ordered for supplying cylinders three times a day to such hospitals,' he said. PTI KSU NVG NVG