The Karnataka government has announced further easing of lockdown restrictions in 19 of the 31 districts from June 21 in view of the positivity rate falling below five percent and a decline in others. "For the past one week, the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than five per cent in 16 districts, between five per cent and 10 percent in 13 districts and above 10 percent in Mysuru district.
We have taken certain decisions on easing restrictions, based on the advice of the Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19 and after discussions with my cabinet colleagues," Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa told reporters. The 16 districts with less than five percent positivity rate are Belagavi, Mandya, Koppal, Chikkaballapura, Tumakuru, Kolar,Bengaluru Urban (including BBMP limits), Gadag, Raichur, Bagalkote, Kalaburagi, Haveri, Ramanagar, Yadgir and Bidar, Yediyurappa said.
In these districts, all shops will remain open till 5 pm. Hotels, clubs and restaurants without air conditioners will be allowed to operate with 50 per cent occupancy.
Outdoor shooting, bus and metro rail services with 50 percent occupancy and outdoor sports without spectators will be allowed, he said. The Chief Minister added that the government offices will be permitted to operate with 50 per cent occupancy.
Lodges, resorts and gymnasiums without ACs have also been given the nod to run their business with 50 per cent occupancy. The restrictions as ordered on June 11 will continue in 13 districts with positivity rate between five per cent to 10 per cent.
Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravikumar, in a government Order, said all production units, industrial establishments and industries are permitted to function with 50 percent staff, strictly adhering to COVID appropriate behaviour. However, establishments engaged in garment manufacturing are permitted to function with 30 percent staff strength.
The order said all shops without any distinction between essential and nonessential goods/services will be allowed to function outside containment zones from 6 AM to 5 PM. "However, air-conditioned shops, air-conditioned shopping complexes, malls, will not be permitted to operate.
Home delivery of all items shall be encouraged 24x7 to minimise movement of individuals outside their homes. Operations shall be subject to adhering to National Directives for COVID 19 management," the order read.
Parks will remain open from 5 AM to 10 AM, taxis and auto rickshaws will ply with a maximum of two passengers, and government offices can function with 50 per cent staff. During night curfew buses, trains and air travel would be permitted, the order said.
The restrictions as ordered on June 11 will continue in 13 districts with positivity rate between five per cent to 10 per cent. These are Hassan, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga, Chamarajanagar, Chikkamagaluru, Bengaluru Rural, Davangere, Kodagu, Dharwad, Ballari, Chitradurga and Vijayapura.
The June 11 order said the restrictions will be eased from 6 AM to 2 PM, where the sale of essential commodities and delivery through e-commerce companies will continue. The stringent restrictions in Mysuru will continue, the Chief Minister added.
However, state-wide night curfew from 7 PM to 5 AM every day would continue and weekend curfew from 7 PM on Friday to 5 PM on Monday will remain in effect till July 5. The Chief Minister made it clear that easing the curbs should not be taken to mean that there has been a drastic reduction in infections.
"Easing restrictions should not be perceived as COVID-19 infections have reduced drastically. The relaxation has been given because people are in distress, business activities have stopped, and livelihoods have become difficult," Yediyurappa said.
He urged people to ensure this relaxation was a success by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene. Meanwhile, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited said it would operate trains from 7 AM to 11 AM and 3 PM to 6 PM at an interval of every five minutes.
There would be no services on Saturdays and Sundays due to weekend curfew, it said. The COVID-19 restrictions were imposed from April 27 when the daily infections breached the 50,000 mark.
When the cases did not come down, the government imposed a lockdown from May 10, allowing sale of essential goods from 6 AM to 10 AM. It eased restrictions on June 11, allowing shops selling essential commodities from 6 AM to 2 PM after the number of cases started declining.
Due to the restrictions, daily infections have come down to 5,815, though active cases stood at 1,30,872 as of date, according to the health department.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST