Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa chaired a virtual all-party Covid meet today as the state reported 15,785 fresh cases with 146 deaths in 24 hours.
The chief minister, who recently tested positive for the virus a second time, joined elected representatives from Bengaluru to discuss measures to tackle the rapidly spiralling Covid situation in the city from his hospital room.
After the meeting, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, "The opposition parties have given their recommendations and suggestions and complaints. Tomorrow, His Excellency the Governor has called a special meeting with the chief minister and opposition parties. After that meeting we will collate and give a common decision. I think by tomorrow evening the state government will announce the tough measures that will have to be put in Bangalore. The city is the epicentre of growth in Karnataka."
"We also want to increase the capacity of beds, ICUs, ventilators in the private sector where they have not given the 50 per cent reservation as agreed upon," he added.
The opposition was not impressed, saying the meeting had only been called to give the public an impression that the opposition is being consulted.
Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad said, "Today the government has not come out with any solution for the problems faced by the common man. They are not telling us how they are going to accommodate people who need hospitals, ICUs, and ventilators or how they will streamline the supply of oxygen. They had enough time for preparation. Why didn't they call this meeting one month earlier?"
The MLA was also critical of the government's response to the Covid crisis.
"The health minister has utterly failed in discharging his duties," he said, adding, "The chief minister was busy campaigning for by-elections. Now he himself is infected and hospitalised. Today we have no government in Karnataka. People are dying. I, as an MLA, cannot help anyone get admission in hospitals."
Asked about the possibility of a lockdown, Mr Arshad said, "We have said if you want to go for a lockdown, compensate people by giving them monetary help. Otherwise how will they survive? Else go for Section 144 and restrict large gatherings."
Karnataka now has 1,42,084 active cases of coronavirus and the positivity rate stands at 12.81 per cent.