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Covid restrictions in place till May in Karnataka: Health minister Sudhakar

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Bengaluru, Apr 3 (IANS): Karnataka health minister K. Sudhakar on Saturday ruled out possibilities of bringing any change in a series of restrictions that were enforced by the state government due to the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Sudhakar told reporters that the state government decided to enforce these guidelines after several rounds of discussions with various departments concerned and this decision were not taken in haste.

Karnataka on Friday ordered the shutting down of boarding and residential hostels for primary and secondary schools and optional attendance for students of Classes 10, 11, and 12. Besides, the government also reintroduced 50 percent occupancy rules in all film theaters.

In its order issued on Friday, the government had also ordered gymnasiums, party halls, clubhouses and swimming pools to be closed in the state while occupancy in buses should not exceed beyond the seating capacity.

Sudhakar said that the second wave, as per the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), will last till May end and from the first week of June as only then one can expect to see a fall in the Covid cases.

The health minister contended that if no precautions are taken in these two months and cases continued to rise, critics are likely to blame the authorities.

“The government can not close its eyes on such serious issues related to people’s health. We all are facing tough times, there is no doubt about that. These tough times certainly deserve tough decisions too. The government cannot compromise on people’s health,” he argued.

He added that the government’s top priority is to take care of the children in the state. “The CM has taken this decision after considering the suggestions and reports submitted by the Technical Advisory Committee, ministers and officials. This is not a decision taken in haste or to satisfy one’s ego. Cases are on the rise, it is there to see for all,” said Sudhakar.

Launching a veiled attack on the film fraternity which is demanding 100 percent occupancy in theatres, the health minister said that the state government had agreed to allow all activities as the pandemic had come under control after an eight month long lockdown.

“No government is willingly taking this decision. This is a world over phenomenon. Even during the second wave, many countries across the globe re-introduce harsh decisions like night curfew and lockdown. But, we have not taken such a decision so far. If we do not control this pandemic now, we may have to go back to the same situation where lockdown could only be a solution,” he said.

He added that there should not be politics dragged into such matters. “I suggest our opposition members not indulge in politics at the cost of people’s health,” he said.

Answering a question, the minister maintained that Covid restrictions were also applied to political rallies and the Election Commission of India has already issued guidelines to respective states where elections are happening.

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