CM to hold meeting with DCs of 18 districts with high test positivity rate at 4 pm today
Bengaluru: Amidst growing opposition from the hospitality industry and a majority of businessmen over the imposition of weekend curfew till Jan. 31, the State Government is likely to lift the restrictions. A final decision will be announced on Friday, Jan. 21.
Reports from Bengaluru today said that as many Ministers and MLAs even from the ruling BJP are severely opposing the weekend curfew, the Government may retain the night curfew and scrap the weekend lockdown.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is holding a virtual meeting at 4 pm today with the Deputy Commissioners of 18 districts including Mysuru and Kodagu where the test positivity rate is high. District Health Officers and Zilla Panchayat CEOs too will be a part of the meeting where inputs from the districts will be taken to arrive at a final decision.
Sources said the Government has decided to reduce the number of tests. In many States including New Delhi, testing has been reduced and this is one of the main reasons behind the reduced number of COVID-19 cases. This decision has been taken as persons with common flu and cold too are testing positive. People are getting panicky even in case of milder infections.
In other States, asymptomatic contacts of infected individuals, except the elderly and those having comorbidities, are not being tested according to the latest advisory by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Even hospitals have relaxed the testing rules of asymptomatic patients undergoing surgical procedures in many States. Sources said that the Karnataka Government too will follow the same system.
Yesterday, the CM chaired a meeting with some of his Cabinet colleagues, members of the Technical Advisory Committee, health and senior officials and decided that the Friday’s meeting will take a call on continuation or relaxation of weekend curfew.
Revenue Minister R. Ashoka said after the meeting, “The experts are of the opinion that the COVID cases may reach the peak on Jan. 25, after which it will gradually decrease. They were also of the view that the State should reduce testing from over two lakh a day to about 1.5 lakh as it does not help much.”
“Even the health experts have pointed out that numerous studies and even Government’s announcements have indicated that the patients in the current Omicron-dominated wave of the virus are far less likely to have severe disease and hospitalisation than patients during the Delta-dominated wave. There is a need therefore to have a re-look at the latest round of restrictions/curfews,” he added.
Owners of hotels, tourism and other industries and trade have opposed the weekend lockdown since they have been incurring huge financial losses. They have demanded immediate removal of weekend curfew. The hospitality industry has been demanding the Government to lift the weekend curfew to give them some breathing space since it survives mainly due to the business during weekends. The industry has been demanding longer operating hours from the existing 10 pm to 11.30 pm on all days as it will reduce overcrowding and the restaurants, bars, pubs and microbreweries can take bookings for patrons in slots at the existing 50 percent seating capacity rules.