Karnataka lockdown: TAC recommends extension; Deputy CM hints at phase-wise unlocking after June 7
Bengaluru, June 01: Amid speculation about extension of the lockdown, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan on Tuesday said it is a "guarantee" that the state will start the unlock process after June 7, as he hinted that it will be phased lifting of curbs.
The state is currently under lockdown till June 7, and there were speculations about it being extended.
"Let's see, whether unlocking should be done at once or in a phased manner is the question.Unlock is guarantee, after June 7...how to do it is the question, there are no plans of doing it at once, it may be in a phased manner," Narayan said in response to a question on the future of lockdown in the current situation.
Speaking to reporters here, he said the government is gathering opinion from experts and others and a decision will be taken after considering all aspects.
The Karnataka state COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended the state government to extend the ongoing lockdown till the test positivity rate comes down below 5 per cent, daily new cases below 5,000 and Case Fatality Rate (CFR) falls below 1 per cent.
The committee in its report said that the lockdown should continue for two more weeks after June 7. "The test positivity rate of 5 percent is the safest threshold and it was decided after discussions with public health, virology and epidemiology experts," TAC chairman M.K. Sudharshan said.
However, Health Minister K Sudhakar too, while hinting about phased unlocking, said that the state''s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee has suggested that the strict restrictions can be relaxed once daily cases come down below 5,000 mark.
"They (TAC) have said the (positivity) rate has to come below 5 per cent and number of cases (fresh) should be below 5,000, only then the restrictions can be relaxed and until then the strict measures that are in place should be continued," he said.
The Health Minister said that he has submitted the TAC''s report to the Chief Minister and discussed it. "The CM has said that whenever we go for unlocking, it should also be in a staggered manner."
"If unlocking is done it should be in a phased manner and it cannot be done at once, because the decline is not to the level of our expectations or to that of the TAC, though cases have come down, it is still not below 5 per cent. In several districts as the numbers are still a bit more, we will have to be cautious," he added.
The Karnataka government had initially announced 14 days "closedown" from April 27, but subsequently imposed a complete lockdown from May 10 to May 24, as the COVID cases continued to spike.
Citing lockdown yielding results and experts advice, it was further extended till June 7.