Bengaluru recorded its highest single day increase in covid-19 cases as 596 people tested positive on Saturday, indicating that the infection is rapidly spreading in the city.
The high number of cases in Bengaluru added to the spike in the state which recorded 918 cases in the 24 hours period till 5 pm on Saturday.
The details of the number of cases comes hours after the B.S.Yediyurappa-led government decided to lockdown the entire state, particularly Bengaluru, on Sundays.
“Lockdown would be imposed every Sunday, with effect from 5 July, 2020 until further orders. No activities shall be permitted on that day except essential services and supplies,” the chief minister’s office (CMO) said in a statement on Saturday.
The spike comes days ahead of the decision to allow the second set of lifting of lockdown in Karnataka from 1 July. Under the order for lifting of the lockdown on 31 May, the government had decided to reopen schools, educational institutions after holding consultations with parents, guardians and other stakeholders.
This was to be followed by metro rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, bars and other businesses and activities.
By doing away with the entire column that shared details on the source of the infection, the government has tacitly acknowledged community transmission of the virus which adds the challenges on policy makers who will be forced to choose between imposing another lockdown or keep businesses open to assuage the adverse impact of the fledgling economy.
Incidentally, Karnataka was applauded for being one of the few states who shared all important information in its daily health bulletins.
The spike in Bengaluru takes the total number of cases to 2531 of which 1913 are active.
Karnataka inched towards the 12,000 mark with the spike on Saturday of which 4441 are active.
The state government has projected that the state is estimated to have 25,000 positive cases by mid-August. Eleven more people died that took the toll closer to the 200 mark.
Despite the spike, the state government has decided to move ahead with the exams for 10th graders.
One student was declared positive while he was writing his exam in Hassan while another from Gadag has also tested positive. One official on exam duty in Tumakuru district tested positive while another student has been quarantined after his grandmother tested positive.
The statement by the CMO says that all government offices shall remain closed on all Saturdays, along with second and fourth Saturday with effect from 10 July as well as an extension in night curfew that will be applicable from 8 pm to 5 am.
Yediyurappa also directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP, the city’s civic body) to set up more vegetable markets to avoid crowds. The city administration has sealed down K.R.Market and adjoining localities due to the high number of cases from these areas.
The chief minister has also asked for additional ambulances and roping in more officials to battle covid-19 at a zonal and ward level.
Yediyurappa also directed that steps be taken to reserve Marriage halls, hostels and other institutions in Bengaluru for Covid care centers and to avail railway coach with beds.
The district administration was asked to identify more places for the last rites of dead patients.
He also said that necessary action may be taken to reserve 50% beds in medical colleges and private hospitals.