Karnataka minister favours extension of lockdown in state

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Bengaluru, May 15 : Karnataka Revenue Minister R. Ashoka on Friday favoured extension of the 14-day lockdown to contain the Covid spread in the state, which is in the grip of the pandemic’s second wave.

“As the 14-day lockdown since May 10 has helped us in controlling Covid cases, I am in favour of extending it beyond May 24 to contain the virus spread further,” Ashoka told reporters here.

Noting that new cases which were over 25,000 in a day in Bengaluru earlier declined to about 17,000 daily after the lockdown was imposed, Ashoka said its extension would further reduce the caseload.

“Extension of lockdown in Maharashtra and Delhi reduced Covid cases in the worst-affected states, positive cases will also decline in our state if the 14-day lockdown is extended beyond May 24,” asserted Ashoka.

Cabinet ministers involved in the fight against the pandemic will meet before the present lockdown ends on May 24 to assess the situation to decide on the next course of action in containing the disease.

“Though I will suggest extension of lockdown, the final decision will be taken by the chief minister (B.S. Yediyurappa)

Refuting charge by the opposition parties that testing had reduced in the state, the minister said that the guidelines have been issued to test all symptomatic, ILI (Influenza Like Illness) and SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infections) patients across the state for early detection and treatment.

“Even primary contacts of each Covid positive patient are tested to contain the virus spread. Mass testing in public places has been suspended due to lockdown as people are not allowed to come out of their home,” he reiterated.

According to the state health bulletin, 41,779 new cases were registered on Thursday, taking the state’s Covid tally to 21,30,267, including 5,98,605 active cases.

As epicentre of the pandemic in the state, Bengaluru reported 14,316 fresh cases on Thursday, taking its Covid tally to 10,29,312, including 3,60,862 active cases.

New cases were 35,297 in the state and 15,191 in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

The virus claimed 373 lives, including 121 in Bengaluru, taking the state’s death toll to 21,085 and the city’s toll to 9,246 since the pandemic broke out in mid-March a year ago.

Out of 1,27,105 tests conducted across the state during the day, 10,315 were through rapid antigen detection and 1,16,790 through RT-PCR method.

Positivity rate rose to 32.86 per cent and case fatality rate declined to 0.89 per cent across the state on Thursday