Any decision on Bengaluru lockdown only after consulting experts: Ministers

Bengaluru, June 24 (PTI) Any decision on re-imposing lockdown in the city in view of surging COVID-19 cases will be taken only after consulting experts, several Karntaka Ministers said on Wednesday, amid speculations that the government is planning such a course.

A day after setting off a debate saying the government may have to consider lockdown, Health Minister B Sriramulu maintained that if the cases in the city continued to increase the matter would be discussed with the expert committee, with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and a decision taken.

'We have an expert committee, and if the cases continue to increase we will discuss with them, with the Chief Minister and take a decision. Also the Central government will be consulted,' he told reporters here.

Evading a direct answer on whether there should be a lockdown or not, the Minister said more tests have to happen in the city, where 1,678 cases of COVID-19 have been reported so far. This included 78 deaths and 475 discharges.

As part of unlock-1 from June 1, Karnataka has further relaxed lockdown curbs and allowed various activities.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the state which stood at 3,408 as of June 1 has crossed the 10,000 mark on Wednesday with the state capital topping the districts in the infection count.

Concerned over increase in COVID-19 cases in the city, Yediyurappa on Monday had directed officials to implement lockdown measures strictly in certain clusters which have reported more number of coronavirus infections.

City's busiest K R Market and Kalasipalya Market have been sealed for 15 days by the civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as part of measures to check the spread of the deadly virus, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said whether to go for lockdown once again was an important issue.

At a time when coronavirus cases were increasing, the decision has to be taken keeping in mind COVID management, economic activities that were taking place, and the economic situation of the government.

'Extensive discussions are taking place about lockdown.

The Chief Minister is every day reviewing the corona situation in the state. He is holding meetings with senior officials and gathering information,' he said.

Yediyurappa will take a call whether it should be taken up at the Cabinet or at the COVID task force meeting.

Some reports suggest that the a decision on lockdown was likely at the cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Noting that there were apprehensions among some experts that the community spread might have been happening Rural Development Minister K S Eshwarappa said the cabinet was likely to discuss the issue on Thursday.

Tourism Minister C T Ravi said the government had been taking decisions on lockdown based on the experts' report and also taking opposition into confidence.

'This time too any decision will be taken based on the expert's report,' he added. PTI KSU VS VS