Lockdown future to be decided on June 4 or 5 after considering COVID situation & expert opinion: K'taka CM

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(Eds: Updating with CM's quote) Bengaluru, May 31 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Monday said the decision on the future of lockdown was likely on June 4 or 5, after discussion with experts and depending on the COVID-19 situation in the state.

The state is currently under lockdown till June 7.

'After June 4 or 5, I will discuss with them (experts), also looking at how the (COVID) situation improves by then, we will take a decision,' Yediyurappa told reporters.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister K Sudhakar had said a decision on the future of lockdown has to be taken on a scientific basis as it is aimed at saving lives and that the Chief Minister will take a final call after examining the report from experts and discussing with cabinet colleagues.

'Till late last night they (state's COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee, consisting of experts) have held discussions, they will submit me the report today, I will discuss it with the Chief Minister today itself. Most probably the Chief Minister may discuss it with the cabinet and take a final decision,' he said.

According to reports, TAC has recommended to the government to extend the lockdown at least for one more week.

While several ministers have expressed their opinion in favour of the lockdown, a few have suggested that it should be rolled back slowly.

Batting in favour of the lockdown, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said discussions are on and the Chief Minister will take a decision based on expert opinion.

He said, 'based on expert opinion and positivity rate a decision will be taken. In Delhi cases (daily) have dropped below 1,000 after lockdown, in Bengaluru it is still around 5,000 and Karnataka's figures stand at around 20,000, it has to come below 500 in Bengaluru and 2,000-3,000 cases in the state,' he said, adding it was not appropriate to open up without the numbers coming down.

However, Cooperation Minister S T Somashekar had recently said that in his opinion it was not right to extend the lockdown after June 7, as it has already been over a month and people who lead their life on daily wages are affected and also that the number of cases were gradually coming down.

The Karnataka government had initially announced 14 days 'close down' from April 27, but subsequently imposed a complete lockdown from May 10 to May 24, as the COVID cases continued to spike.

Citing lockdown yielding results and experts' advice, it was further extended till June 7.

Meanwhile, stating that the number of black fungus cases were increasing in the state and discussions were on regarding measures to control it, the Chief Minister said, special attention will be given towards it.

As per the information shared by the health department Sunday evening, at least 39 people are suspected to have died due to Mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, in Karnataka.

The state has so far recorded 1,250 cases of black fungus, of which 1,193 patients are currently undergoing treatment and 18 of them have been cured, the data showed.

The Chief Minister, who interacted with staff nurses from across the state on COVID duty via video conference, while lauding them for their service, told reporters that they have shared their grievances and given suggestions, and the government will try to resolve them.

'I have interacted with nurses from six to seven districts putting their lives at risk, I have tried to know issues faced by them. Some of them have come back to work after recovering from COVID infection, some of them are working despite their family members being infected,' Yediyurappa said, adding that he is short of words to thank them.

Currently 21,574 staff nurses are working in the state and aimed at encouraging them a special COVID incentive of Rs 8,000 is being paid along with the monthly salary, an official release said.PTI KSU SS PTI PTI

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