By Sharon Thambala
Bengaluru: Karnataka’s partial lockdown in the wake of rising coronavirus infections has come into force on Saturday.
Following Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s order on Friday, malls, theatres and pubs have been closed for a week, starting Saturday.
Karnataka will not allow summer camps, sporting events, seminars and other such activities.
Swimming pools, sports clubs and gyms will also be shut.
Similarly, all universities will also be shut for a week while government-run hostels have been suggested to take great care.
The Chief Minister also cancelled official trips to the state on March 16 and 17. However, all the examinations will continue to be conducted as per schedule in the state.
Students emerging after an examination were seen in Whitefield on Saturday.
“Let us all remember our duty to our fellow humans. Maintaining basic hygiene and avoiding spreading infection can help us all. Let us educate ourselves and be better. Precaution>panic,” tweeted Yediyurappa.
Despite the partial lockdown, a visit to Whitefield has revealed that not much coronavirus panic is in the air with most people going about their everyday lives normally.
Not everybody is sporting a mask to shield themselves from coronavirus, though a few can be spotted on the roads and public places wearing light green and black masks.
At Kodathi, a city suburb by Sarjapura Road, a yellow masks are retailing for Rs. 30 and a black mask at Rs. 90.
The regular light green mask is out of stock in most medical stores.
Meanwhile, Karnataka government brought masks and hand sanitisers under the Essential Commodities Act (EC Act).
“An offender under the EC Act may be punished with an imprisonment up to seven years or fine or both and under the PBMMSEC Act, he can be detained for maximum of six months,” said an official statement.
The Sri Prasanna Maruthi Temple priest in Whitefield was also sporting a mask as he attended to devotees on Saturday.
Ramesh, 27, an autorickshaw driver in Whitefield was seen wearing a black mask.
“I am not scared of Coronavirus but I don’t know who has been infected by the virus and who hasna¿t been,” told Ramesh to IANS, explaining the rationale for wearing masking up.
Many restaurants, tiffin centres, and supermarkets are functioning normally with the usual Saturday crowd.
So is the case with traffic on road, just like any other Saturday, lesser than the regular working day movement.
Though the government decided not to allow public gatherings in the form of weddings and functions, a venue decked up for celebration was spotted in Gunjur, between Kodathi and Varthur.
Confirming to the government diktat, most theatres are off limits to the public in Bengaluru except one.
A short search by IANS to book a movie ticket on Bookmyshow app has thrown up only one theatre and one movie for Saturday.
Though the app featured Kannada movie Drona, starring Shiva Rajkumar and Iniya, as playing at SLN Theatre in Hesaraghatta, an attempt to book a ticket did not successfully happen.
All other multiplex chains such as PVR, INOX and others were absent on the app.
However, the app has listed a few events for Saturday, such as the Nofilter standup comedy show at Enerjuvate Studio and Cafe in Koramangala. An attempt to book the comedy show has succeeded.
In the coming week, Bookmyshow has lined up events like Koi Tumsa Nahin, Bhangra Workshop by Amol Singh, Bellywood and others.
At Brigade Road in the heart of city, the usual weekend crowd is missing though a few vehicles were zipping by. Some shops were closed and some were open for business.
A mall closed its gates and displayed the message, ‘we will resume our operations on March 21’.
Long distance trains from the city did not seem to be affected despite Yediyurappa appealing for postponing journeys. The Seshadri Express from Bengaluru to Kakinada in East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh saw a full house at the Whitefield railway station.
(Sharon Thambala can be contacted at [email protected])