No metro in Bengaluru during weekend curfew, state to operate limited bus services; 190 more Covid deaths

Karnataka on Friday reported 26,962 new infections taking the active caseload to 2,14,311, while with 190 more fatalities, the cumulative death toll has jumped to 14,075.

Adhering to government guidelines imposing restrictions during weekends till May 4, 2021, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has announced that no trains would operate on Saturdays and Sundays.

However, during weekdays from Monday to Friday (beginning April 26), trains will ply as usual at 7 am. However, the last services from terminal stations such as Nagasandra, Silk Institute, Mysuru Road, and Baiyappanahalli stations will begin at 7.30 pm.

All trains operating during the last service daily, during weekdays, will have connection trains at the Kempegowda Metro Station at Majestic as well, BMRCL clarified.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has announced that it will only operate buses based on need and traffic density during the weekend curfew, as per the restrictions announced by the state government in a bid to mitigate Covid-19 spread.

“The Government of Karnataka has imposed curfew in the State during the weekends i.e. from Friday 9 pm to Monday 6 am to contain Covid-19 transmission. During this period, KSRTC buses will be operated based on traffic density and need only,” an official statement mentioned.

KSRTC has also requested passengers to compulsorily follow Covid-19 guidelines while travelling.

At the same time, passengers travelling between the Kempegowda International Airport and Bengaluru, in both directions, are likely not be affected much due to the weekend curfew scheduled to be in place for the next two weeks.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has announced that it will operate 48 services of Vayu Vajra (A/C volvo buses) connecting the airport to the city on Saturday and Sunday.

“BMTC will also operate 500 essential ordinary services during the weekend curfew for the benefit of employees working in permitted industries and government offices,” officials clarified.

Covid deaths ‘murders due to political irresponsibility’: Siddaramaiah

Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, Siddaramaiah, continued to call out the alleged “inaction” of the BJP-led state government towards taking steps to help those in need during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. On Friday, he termed Covid-19 fatalities taking place in the state as “murders due to political irresponsibility” by the ruling government.

The senior Congress leader accused BJP leaders, both at the Central and state-level, of ignoring expert warnings that a second wave was possible in February and March, 2021.

“The BJP leaders chose to ignore these and instead claimed that they have combated Covid-19 well till the end. Even as the situation is grim and distressing, the government has chosen to snatch away the lives of small-scale businessmen by announcing curfews without any warning,” he alleged.

He also remarked that the government’s decision to hike the price of fertilizers and reduce PDS (Public Distribution System) rice distribution by 2 kilograms to BPL (below poverty line) families was “highly condemnable.”

The former CM then urged Congress legislators to serve the people by arranging medical oxygen, medicines, hospital beds and ambulance services to people in need in their own constituencies. He also appealed to the MLAs to make arrangements for sufficient food supply to the needy, similar to how it was done during the lockdown last year.

Ensure last rites of Covid patients are conducted in dignified manner, Kumaraswamy tells Karnataka govt

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy Friday urged the BJP-led Karnataka government to take measures to ensure that the last rites of Covid-19 victims in Bengaluru are conducted in a dignified manner.

“The last rites of least 25 victims should be conducted on a daily basis in each segment (of the total eight) of the deemed forest surrounding Bengaluru in all its eight directions,” he recommended in a statement issued from the hospital in the city, where he is admitted due to Covid-19.

The former CM added, “It is really the height of inhuman behaviour on the part of the government which has failed to ensure proper arrangements for conducting the last rites of COVID patients who died due to non-availability of proper medical care.”

Will fight the govt’s decision to impose lockdown-like curfew politically: D K Shivakumar

Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar Friday condemned the state government for imposing a “lockdown-like curfew by forcefully closing down non-essential businesses.”

The former minister added that the opposition was cooperating with the government “even though they failed miserably” from a humane perspective. “Nonetheless, forcible closure in any form is never acceptable. We will fight the government politically for taking such decisions,” the Kanakapura MLA stressed.

Hours after CM’s request to PM for 2 lakh Remdesivir vials, health minister says efforts on to import from abroad

Hours after Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the state’s need of two lakh more doses of Remdevisir within 10 days, Health Minister K Sudhakar Friday said efforts were on to procure the same from abroad.

“We are trying to directly procure 2 lakh vials (of Remdesivir) from abroad. We are seeking the Centre’s approval for this,” Sudhakar said in Bengaluru. He added that the state was getting 10,000 to 20,000 vials of the antiviral drug daily at present.

Sudhakar added, “The Centre has allocated an additional 25,000 vials. I have also spoken to Biocon MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw to supply 10,000 vials in 10 days and another 50,000-60,000 vials within a month.”

Bengaluru: Police arrest pharma trainee for allegedly stealing Remdesivir vials

The Bengaluru City Police Friday confirmed the arrest of a pharma trainee from Victoria Hospital for allegedly stealing Remdesivir vials to sell it in black market.

According to the police, the accused has been identified as Mohammed Saqib (24), a resident of Banashankari 2nd Stage. “The accused was working as a trainee at the pharmacy department of Victoria Hospital for the last two months. His duty was to paste stickers on Remdesivir vials. After learning the high demand of the drug due to the situation, he stole seven vials from the hospital to sell it to a medical shop at a higher rate,” an officer from SG Palya police station said.

The accused’s link to the case was revealed after CCB officials found him supplying the vials to a medical shop owner at Bannerghatta Road. “The CCB team, on receiving information that Rajesh of Sri Guru Medicals in KEB Layout was selling Remdesivir at exorbitant rates, approached Rajesh disguised as customers. While they waited and tried to bargain to reduce the price, Saqib came to drop off seven vials of Remdesivir,” the police explained. A case has been registered at SG Palya and an investigation is underway.

2000 makeshift ICU beds to be ready in 15 days: health minister

Health Minister Sudhakar Friday said 2000 makeshift ICU beds will be ready in Bengaluru within 15 days.

“In 15 days, at least 2000 makeshift ICU beds will be ready. 800 of them will have ventilators. In Victoria hospital campus, 250 ICU beds will be set up and in another new building, 150-200 ICU beds will be arranged. 100 of them will have ventilators. Makeshift hospitals will also be set up at Bowring, RGICD and NIMHANS hospitals,” he said.

He added that CM Yediyurappa had directed the department to increase the availability of ventilators by ten times. “We have initiated steps towards that. Private hospitals have been asked to establish make-shift hospitals as well,” he said.

However, Sudhakar maintained that issues pertaining to non-availability of ICU beds and ventilators were “exaggerated.”

190 more deaths, 26,962 new infections as positivity rate up at 15.47%

As many as 190 more fatalities across the state (124 in Bengaluru Urban alone) were linked to Covid-19 by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services on Friday as the cumulative death toll rose to 14,075.

Meanwhile, the state reported 26,962 new infections as the active caseload spiked to 2,14,311. With 16,662 new cases, the number of active cases in Bengaluru Urban alone stands at 1.5 lakh.

At the same time, 12 more districts out of the total 30, reported over 400 new cases. These are Tumkur (1004), Kalaburagi (742), Ballari (695), Mysuru (645), Bengaluru Rural (588), Mandya (519), Kolar (504), Dakshina Kannada (485), Dharwad (472), Chickballapur (471), Vijayapura (429), and Bidar (416).

Govt asks medical college labs to form backup teams for Covid tests

The Karnataka government has directed laboratories and other testing facilities in medical colleges in the state to form backup teams with professionals to ensure RT-PCR testing process does not get affected in the case of lab technicians contracting Covid-19 infection.

“In such an event at any Medical College, the services of the RT-PCR testing should not get hampered because of lack of human resource. In order to manage such events, the Dean/Directors are hereby informed to form a backup team from the above-mentioned departments, (standby team) in consultation with the Nodal Officer of the RT-PCR Laboratory,” an order issued by Medical Education Secretary T K Anil Kumar read.

The order specified that members of such backup teams should be trained well in advance at their respective Covid-19 RT-PCR laboratories.

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