to 26; Govt declares lockdown in 9 districts Bengaluru, Mar 22 (PTI) Six new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Karnataka on Sunday, taking the total in the state to 26 as the government announced a series of measures such as closing of borders, shutdown in nine districts and postponement of board exams to contain the spread of virus.
Roads in the capital city and other parts of the state wore a deserted look on Sunday as the 'Janta Curfew' proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help check the spread of coronavirus got a tremendous response.
People across the state, including prominent personalities such as former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Biocn chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, film star Sudeep, took to clapping in the evening as a mark of appreciation to those involved in containing the spread of virus and treating those affected, as desired by Modi.
Till date, 26 COVID-19 positive cases have been confirmed in the state which includes one death,' the Karnataka health department said in a bulletin.
Twentyfour positive patients were in stable condition in isolation wards of designated hospitals, it said.
Sharing details of 6 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, including two women, the department said, while three are from Bengaluru, the other three are from Dharwad, Gowribidanur and Bhatkal.
With increasing number of positive cases in the state, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa chaired a series of meetings on Sunday.
The government announced a host of measures, including shutdown of all commercial activities, other then certain essential services in the nine districts of the state, where COVID-19 cases have been reported.
The districts are Bengaluru city, Bengaluru Rural, Mangaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Dharwad, Chikkaballapura, Kodagu and Belagavi, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said.
It was also declared that public transport will continue to remain shut on Monday as well, across the state, while AC buses and inter-district transport services from the nine districts has been cancelled till March 31.
'After taking stock of the coronavirus situation in the state and in neighboring states, the Chief Minister has announced shutdown from tomorrow till March 31 Bommai told reporters after the meeting charied by the chief minister.
He said barring essential services like medical, grocery and agriculture, all other commercial activities will be under 'shutdown'.
The government has also said that all labour intensive industries in the said districts shall work at 50 per cent of their strength on rotation basis ensuring that social distancing measure is strictly adhered to.
Bommai said, 'Janta Curfew' will end by 9 pm, but section 144 (prohibitory orders) will be in force after that till 12 am to see to that people don't gather after the self-imposed shutdown.
Replying to a question, he said the ongoing assembly session will continue as per schedule, unless and until there is further notification.
Bommai also said government offices will continue to function as usual to provide essential services. In private and IT companies, most of the work force was already working from home.
Among the other decisions taken by the government are, complete sealing of state borders; postponement of all exams including SSLC (class 10-board) and second PUC (class 12- board) English paper, till further orders.
It has also been decided to screen the domestic air passengers along with the international passengers henceforth.
Earlier in the day, after holding discussions with Narayana Health Chairman Dr Devi Shetty, senior Ministers and officials of his government, Yediyurappa said, a 1,700-bed facility at Victoria Hospital in the city will be converted as a special hospital for COVID cases with immediate effect.
Announcing postponement of local elections that were scheduled, he said, 'most importantly I appeal to people residing in the cities not to travel to villages for fifteen days, as there are no problems there, cases are in the cities.' The government has also decided to immediately increase the number of labs to test for COVID-19 virus, and to test all those who have come into contact with infected persons whether they show symptoms or not.
According to the government, facilities are being made ready to test at least 200 out of every 10 lakh people, and decision has been taken to get permission for as many government and private labs to test COVID-19 , with the help of ICMR and NIV.
Also, the Balabrooie Guest House in the city will be converted into 'Corona War Room' and all related measures will be monitored and implemented from there under leadership of the Chief Minister, it said, adding that the War Room will function round-the-clock and all task force meetings and video conferencing will happen from there.' PTI KSU VS VS