By Fakir Balaji
Bengaluru, July 15 (IANS) Re-imposition of a 9-day lockdown after 45 days of unlock to check the surging Covid cases has upset this tech city’s 1.2-crore denizens, as they are sick of the elusive pandemic disrupting normal life and causing untold hardships again.
Alarmed by the spurt in positive cases since lockdown-4 ended on May 31 and unlock began in June first week to revive the sagging economy and restore many activities, a worried Karnataka government enforced the lockdown again in Bengaluru since Tuesday night to reduce its caseload, which is the highest in the southern state.
Though the state government ruled out re-imposing lockdown in the state, especially in Bengaluru even as positive cases were spiking by the day, it was forced to enforce it across the state on Sundays since July 5 to August 2 for preventing people going out and getting infected by violating the guidelines such as wearing mask and maintaining social distancing.
“Our worst fears about lockdown returning to disrupt normal life came true, as the beleaguered government is desperate to reduce the cases, increase recovery and minimise the mortality rate in the city. But we are upset with it (lockdown) and sick of the virus,” marketing executive S. Umapathy told IANS here.
Of the 2,496 new cases across the southern state on Tuesday, Bengaluru accounted for 1,267, taking its tally to 20,969, including 15,599 active after 4,992 were discharged so far, with 664 in the last 24 hours.
Of the 87 deaths in the state on Tuesday, 56 were from the city, taking its toll to 377 as against 842 across the state since March 9.
The state’s positive cases also shot up to 44,077 on Tuesday, with 25,839 active after 17,390 were discharged till date, including 664 during the day.
Till lockdown-4 up to May 31, the city reported a mere 358 cases, which shot up 12 times to 4,555 in a month till June 30 and 4 times to a whopping 20,969 in a fortnight till July 14.
Similarly, cases across the state increased five times to 15,242 on June 30 from 3,221 on May 31 and nearly 3 times to 44,077 on July 14.
The steady surge in cases during the last 45 days has made Karnataka surpass even Gujarat (43,723) in caseload and rank fourth after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi in the country on the Covid-19 tracker, as more people got infected since the lockdown was lifted on May 31 and unlock 1 was unleashed since June 1.
“Allowing intra-state and inter-state travel and reopening of markets, hotels, eateries, malls and offices to revive the economic activity led to rapid movement of people, bringing in hundreds of infected people from high Covid-hit states like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu,” Indian Medical Association member S. Veeranna told IANS.
Violation of guidelines like wearing mask, maintaining physical distance and visiting crowded markets or shopping areas also led to local transmission of the virus and increasing number of people testing positive for the virus.
“Assurances by ministers R. Ashoka, K. Sudhakar and C.N. Ashwath Narayan who are legislators from the city, that there would be no more lockdowns in the city led to false hopes of normal life continuing, with more relaxations for resuming other activities. Instead, we are forced to stay home again and comply with the guidelines for government’s sake,” said techie Pradeep Kumar.
Unlike earlier when the central government suddenly enforced lockdown 1.0 on March 25 for 21 days and suspended transport services, the state government gave 2 days for citizens to prepare for the 9-day lockdown from July 14-22 morning.
“Prior information on the lockdown on Saturday night gave citizens 2 days to prepare for it though total lockdown on Sunday again delayed making alternative arrangements. It also enabled thousands of people leave the city or return by Tuesday night and avoid being stranded as in March and April,” said Urdu professor Siddiqui Alduri.
With the highest growth rate (7.36 per cent) in the country, the state, including the city has witnessed positive cases doubling in less than 10 days as against the national average of over 21 days.
“Targetted testing of primary and secondary contacts of infected persons has led to steep rise in the number of positive cases. One of the reasons for the positive cases ramping up in the state and city is because we are testing about 20,000 samples a day,” state health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said.
(Fakir Balaji can be reached at [email protected])