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Another lockdown in Bengaluru? Minister drops hint as COVID-19 cases spike

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Bengaluru, June 23: Amid growing Coronavirus cases in Bengaluru, Karnataka health minister B Sriramulu on Tuesday hinted that the government might have to impose a lockdown in the city, after consulting experts.

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"Already four regions in Bengaluru have been sealed for 14 days. If the situation continues, we are thinking of a lockdown all over the city. To take a call, we will have a meeting with the CM, COVID-19 task force, experts and officials," he said at a press meet.

He urged people to cooperate to control the spread of the virus by following measures in place to contain it. Concerned over the increase in COVID-19 cases in the city, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had on Monday directed officials to implement lockdown measures strictly in certain clusters in Bengaluru which have reported more number of infections.

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    The city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had also issued an order sealing the busy K R Market and Kalasipalya Market here for 15 days.

    Till Monday evening, the state capital had reported 1,398 cases of COVID-19, including 67 deaths and 411 discharges.

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    Referring to the increasing number of cases in Bengaluru, Sriramulu said till now asymptomatic cases were also admitted at dedicated hospitals. But from now on, they would be treated at community halls, schools, marriage halls, hotels and Haj Bhavans, which have been converted into COVID Care centres (CCC), he said.

    "With asymptomatic patients going to CCCs, we will have more beds at dedicated COVID hospitals to treat symptomatic patients and serious patients," he said, adding CCCs will have doctors and nurses 24X7 to take care of patients.

    Noting that the government would be testing more senior citizens in the days to come, the minister said the state planned to ramp up testing on a large scale. "We have plans to conduct 2,000-3,000 tests in each district and have two testing labs in each district," he said.

    Sriramulu said government has decided to take 50 per cent of beds in private hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients, while the remaining would be for those who prefer private treatment.

    "Rates have been fixed for treatment of patients under the government quota and payment will be made at that rate. We have also fixed ceiling for patients wishing to get treated at private hospitals," he said.

    To a question about complaints of poor quality food and facilities for patients at certain dedicated COVID hospitals in Bengaluru, Sriramulu said, "complaints have come to my notice. I have directed officials to make necessary arrangements. I will ensure it does not recur."

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