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Extend lockdown in COVID-19 ‘red zones’, says Sriramulu

Health Minister B. Sriramulu said here on Wednesday that he would urge Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to consider continuing the lockdown in 18 COVID-19 affected districts, including Bengaluru, Mysuru and Bidar, and relaxing the curbs in districts that were by and large free from positive cases.

“I will express my view to the Chief Minister in Thursday’s Cabinet meeting. The issue will also be discussed in the COVID-19 Task Force meeting which is also scheduled on Thursday,” he told reporters.

Mr. Sriramulu, who chaired a meeting with his department officials and reviewed the measures taken to contain the virus, said 18 districts in Karnataka had been affected by COVID-19 and a few of them such as Mysuru, Bengaluru had been categorised in “red zone” because of more number of positive cases.

Out of 181 positive cases in the State, 28 had recovered so far from the contagion. This could happen because of the efforts of doctors, nursing staff, paramedics and others, he said.

Mr. Sriramulu cited the appeal from various States to the Centre on extending the lockdown after April 14 for effectively combating the disease and also the decision of the Punjab government to continue the lockdown till April 30. “The Chief Minister is expected to take up the matter in the Cabinet meeting and I’ll also give my views which include easing the curbs in districts that are unaffected,” he replied.

Samples of China shipment to NIV Pune

The Minister said samples of the shipment that the pharmaceutical company in Nanjangud received from China had been sent to the NIV in Pune for analysis since 24 COVID-19 cases out of 35 in Mysuru district had been linked to the factory. The cause would be known after the lab results, he added.

Those who tested positive include the factory employees and their family members or relatives. Surprisingly, the first employee who tested positive had no international travel and contact history.

Notice served

Mr. Sriramulu said that a notice had been served on the owners of the factory in Nanjangud, which is now a containment area, for appearing before the government to clarify on the employees testing positive.

“The investigation into various angles on the source of infection to the employees is being carried out. There are reports of visits to the factory by nationals from Australia, Japan and so on,” he said, while replying to a volley of questions about the factory and why its owners had not turned up to yet to clarify despite the serious situation.

The first employee of the pharma company tested positive on March 26 and thereafter 23 others linked to the factory contracted the contagion.

Mr. Sriramulu said Nanjangud MLA Harshavardhan had demanded that the company should not be allowed to start its operations until the cause of infection was unravelled and there were nil cases. “His (the MLA) appeal will also discussed in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting and the situation will be made known to the Chief Minister,” the Minister said.


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