If public cooperated, question of extending lockdown may not arise: Karnataka CM

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(Updating with CM's quotes) Bengaluru, May 29 (PTI): Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday said the question of extending the lockdown may not arise if only the public cooperated and there is a decline in COVID-19 cases.

These would be the factors that would determine the State government's decision on the lockdown which the State is currently in till June 7.

Speculations have been rife that the government may extend the lockdown once again following the Centre's direction to continue with the COVID-19 guidelines till June 30.

'Lockdown will be there till June 7. Depending on the situation, we will take further decisions. For now, it will be there till June 7. All the strict measures that need to be taken will be followed till then,' Yediyurappa said.

Speaking to reporters after a three-hour-long meeting with MPs, legislators and public representatives from Mysuru, Hassan, Belagavi, Kalaburagi and Vijayapura districts that have high caseload of the virus cases, he said any further decision would depend on the situation and decline in cases.

'If people cooperate, the question of extending it (the lockdown) after June 7 may not arise, people will have to cooperate. We will put in all our efforts,' he said.

The State government had initially announced 14 days of closedown from April 27, but imposed a complete lockdown from May 10 to May 24 as the cases increased.

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

Earlier in the day, State Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai indicated that the lockdown may be extended following Centre's direction to do so till June 30, and that the Chief Minister would take a decision after meeting his Ministers.

'The positivity rate has not come down completely, it has to come to below 10 per cent, and in rural areas the cases are about 22,000-23,000, it has to go below 10,000, even the number of deaths will have tocome down, only then we will be able to manage the health infrastructure,' he said.

While the positivity rate in the State on Friday stood at 16.42 per cent, case fatality rate (CFR) was at 1.75 per cent.

The Centre had, on Thursday, directed the States and Union Territories to continue the COVID-19 guidelines till June 30 and asked them to go for intensive and local containment measures in districts with a high number of cases to check the spread of the deadly disease.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had said strict implementation of containment and other measures has led to a drop in the number of new and active cases, across States and Union Tterritories, barring some areas in the southern and northeastern regions.

Stating that the government would try to implement the suggestions given by public representatives at the meeting today aimed at controlling COVID, Yediyurappa said there are no financial issues, and by utilising the available funds all efforts have to be put in for controlling the virus.

Expressing hope that the situation would be overcome in four or five days with efforts from everyone, he said already each gram panchayat has been given Rs 50,000 (under State Disaster Response Fund).

The total number of active COVID-19 cases had fallen below the four-lakh mark, and on Friday there were 22,823 new cases and 401 deaths.

While the total number of infections so far stood at 25,46,821, the toll was 27,806.

The day also saw 52,253 getting discharged, with this tally outnumbering the fresh cases.

Out of the 22,823 new cases reported, 5,736 were from Bengaluru Urban which saw 31,237 getting discharged and 192 deaths. PTI KSU NVG NVG

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