The panel of experts in the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee appointed by the government has recommended allowing shops, hotels, and malls to operate for a few hours daily, to begin with.
With the lockdown in Karnataka scheduled to end on June 14 and with a dip in new infections reported over the past few days, the state is likely to begin its unlock process soon, sources said.
The panel of experts in the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) appointed by the government has recommended allowing shops, hotels, and malls to operate for a few hours daily, to begin with. The TAC has also suggested announcing restrictions on the movement of people from districts with more caseload to low-risk areas.
According to sources in the committee, experts have suggested the government to not permit elections and rallies till the end of the year. “Lifting restrictions should not be done all at once but instead in phases, with a clear interval of at least two weeks between them. While markets, shops, and commercial places shall be allowed to function daily for four hours, this can be increased gradually to 10 hours a day. However, places of worship, swimming pools, gyms, and such facilities should not be allowed to function till the end of June,” a source said.
The committee has also suggested that the government cap the number of attendees allowed for marriages and other ceremonies at 200, at least till the end of this year. Pubs, bars, restaurants, and other places with a closed environment have been termed “high-risk”, with the TAC recommending only 50 per cent occupancy in such places.
Meanwhile, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said that the unlock process would be completed in four or five phases. He explained that the rise in positive cases would also be considered before deciding when to lift restrictions. “As the daily number of new infections in Bengaluru is still around 2,000, an unlock is likely to begin only after it goes below 500,” he said.
Also the vice-chairman of Karnataka state disaster management authority, Ashoka confirmed the lockdown would not be relaxed at a go. “We might begin the process by extending timings allowed for shops and then for people who would want to go for a walk at parks,” he said.
Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said some activities will be opened up while restrictions will continue on others. “The advice of experts (TAC) will be conveyed to the CM after which he will make a final decision after discussion with senior ministers. The TAC has opined that restrictions can be lifted only if the test positivity rate (TPR) dips below 5 per cent and the new cases fall under 5,000,” he said.
CM Yediyurappa is expected to make an official announcement on whether the state will begin with its unlock process in the next couple of days.
Karnataka on Wednesday reported 10,959 new cases, 192 more deaths, and 20,246 recoveries. Out of the new cases, 2,395 fresh infections were reported from the capital city Bengaluru alone. The TPR was noted to be at 6.68 per cent, as per the statistics issued by the Health Department.
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