Karnataka closes borders, announces dedicated hospital for COVID-19 in Bengaluru

Ralph Alex Arakal
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As on Saturday, Karnataka has recorded 20 positive cases of COVID-19 including one casualty of a 76-year-old man in Kalaburagi.

In a bid to step up measures to contain COVID-19 in the state, Karnataka has decided to turn Bengaluru's Victoria Hospital to a dedicated center for the treatment of coronavirus-related cases. As on Saturday, Karnataka has recorded 20 positive cases of COVID-19 including one casualty of a 76-year-old man in Kalaburagi.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa announced the same on Sunday after he held an emergency meeting with Deputy CM Dr. Ashwathnarayan CN, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Medical Education Minister Dr. K Sudhakar and cardiac surgeon and entrepreneur Dr. Devi Shetty in Bengaluru.

"The 1700-bedded Victoria Hospital will now be turned into a dedicated hospital for COVID-19 treatment. The patients who are admitted to the hospital now will be shifted to other hospitals," Yediyurappa said.

During the meeting, it was also decided to close all state borders to avoid citizens travelling to neighbouring states and for others to enter the state. "We also request citizens staying in cities not to travel to villages anymore," the CM added.

24/7 war room in Balabrooie Guest House

The Karnataka state government on Sunday decided to run a war room from the Govt Guest House Balabrooie in Bengaluru around the clock. "The war room will be led by the CM himself and will now operate 24x7 to house helplines and in the coming days, will keep track of contact tracing and community surveillance activities," a health department official said.

The other key decisions taken during the CM's emergency meeting held on Sunday included the postponement of all elections, decision to provide the ration of next two months in advance, setting up more COVID-19 test centers in government and private hospitals with cooperation from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV), and increasing the number of lab tests.

"All domestic passengers arriving in airports across the state will be mandatorily screened from now," CM Yediyurappa added.

The government Saturday had also decided to stamp all home-quarantined persons who returned from abroad with indelible ink indicating their last date to be under isolation. The government had appointed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) staff and police to ensure stamping and regular monitoring of such citizens are being done.

The patients who are admitted to Victoria Hospital now will be shifted to other hospitals

 

SSLC exams postponed, last PU exam to be held on Monday

Soon after the meeting, Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar confirmed that SSLC exams scheduled to be held in the state from March 27 are postponed till further orders.

"The new schedule will be announced soon. My young SSLC friends should treat it as an extended study leave. Please revise more and don't treat it as a relaxation time," he added.

However, the minister clarified that the last II PU exam scheduled to be held on Monday (March 23) will be held as scheduled.