The order also directs closure of all commercial establishments, workshops, and godowns dealing with non-essential services. (Express photo: Ralph Alex Arakal)
As Karnataka recorded six more positive cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the state has decided to put nine districts including capital city Bengaluru under a week-long lockdown beginning Monday. According to a state government order released on Sunday, the lockdown will be in force from March 23 to March 31.
The nine districts include Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Kalaburagi, Chikkaballapur, Mysuru, Madikeri, Dharwad, Mangaluru, and Belagavi. Follow coronavirus LIVE updates
"It is imperative to adopt strict social distancing and isolation measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 which is playing havoc across the world including India. Karnataka has witnessed more than 20 COVID-19 positive cases and 1 death," the order signed by Director of Health & Family Welfare Services read.
The order also directs closure of all commercial establishments, workshops, and godowns dealing with non-essential services. Labour-intensive industries have been asked to work at 50% of their total strength on a rotational basis ensuring strict adherence to social distancing measures.
Karnataka records 6 new cases, total rise to 26
With six more positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Karnataka on Sunday, the total number of cases has risen to 26 since the first case was confirmed positive on March 9. According to the media bulletin released on Sunday by the state Health Department, three out of these are in Bengaluru while one each has been recorded in Dharwad, Chikkaballapur, and Uttara Kannada districts.
'IT/BT units should ensure work from home for employees'
The order further directs all Information Technology (IT) and biotechnology (BT) units to ensure 'work from home' facility is provided to employees except for staff dealing with critical and essential services.
KSRTC calls off all services, BMTC to run 50% services
Following the government order to suspend all inter-state and inter-district services from the nine districts in Karnataka where the lockdown will be in place from Monday, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) decided to call off all operations.
According to KSRTC officials, there will not be any bus operating across the nine districts marked for lockdown from on Monday. "All city, intercity and intracity operations in these cities stand cancelled. In other places, non-AC buses will be operated. KSRTC will also obtain details of unreserved passengers who travel in Rajahamsa and Express services as a precautionary measure," PRO T S Latha told Indianexpress.com.
Earlier on Sunday, KSRTC had announced the halt of all inter-state services to Tamilnadu, Goa, Telangana, Maharastra, Kerala, and Pondicherry which includes 1076 buses daily.
To date, KSRTC has recorded a revenue loss of Rs 28 crore.
At the same time, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation PRO Ajit B Torgal said only 50% ordinary vehicles will ply along roads in Bengaluru from Monday.
"BMTC wouldn't be operating its Air-conditioned buses till March 31. Further, BMTC would be operating 50% ordinary vehicles as per the demand of the traveling public," he said.
Meanwhile, the South Western Railway (SWR) Sunday announced cancellation of all passenger trains till March 31 midnight. "In the wake up of COVID-19, all originating long distance Mail/Express/Intercity trains, including premium trains and all originating Passenger trains shall remain cancelled till 24:00 hrs of 31.03.2020," an SWR statement read.
SSLC, PU exams postponed
Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar confirmed that SSLC exams scheduled to be held in the state from March 27 is postponed till further orders.
However, contrary to the decision taken on Sunday morning to hold the last II PU exam on Monday, the state government decided to postpone the same to another date.
"It has been decided to postpone the last II PU examination (English) scheduled to be held on Monday (March 23). The revised date will be announced later," Director of DPUE M Kanagavalli said.
Essential services exempted from lockdown
The Karnataka government has, however, exempted essential services from restrictions announced in nine districts from Monday. According to the government order, the following has been excluded:
- Food, ration shops, milk, vegetables, groceries, meat, fish, fruit markets and shops
- Transportation of all goods
- Police and fire services
- Government officers, ULBs & Panchayati Raj institutions, offices, postal services
- Bank/ATM, telecom
- Home delivery of food, pharmaceutical, and medical equipment
- Take away from restaurants
- Agriculture, sericulture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries-related shops, and markets
- Canteen services provided by governmental and local bodies