This Article is From Dec 24, 2020

Karnataka Withdraws Night Curfew Day After Announcing it

Karnataka Night Curfew: The recall marked a second U-turn in three days - on Tuesday Chief Minister Yediyurappa said "there is no need" and on Wednesday he said it would be imposed

Karnataka has withdrawn its night curfew order (File)

Bengaluru:

Karnataka on Thursday withdrew a night curfew order announced a day earlier amid concerns over a mutated and rapidly-spreading coronavirus strain, citing "public feedback".

The recall marked a second U-turn in three days - on Tuesday Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said "there is no need for it" and on Wednesday he said it would be imposed "in view of the new strain of coronavirus".

Last night, the government had indicated a change in timings from what was announced first.

"The night curfew had been announced to curtail the spread of the new coronavirus strain after getting advice from experts. After getting feedback from the public, the issue was re-examined, and in consultation with cabinet colleagues and senior officials, the decision has been withdrawn," a statement from the Chief Minister's office said this evening.

"The public should undertake self-regulation (quarantine), use masks, social distance, avoid unnecessary travel and follow government guidelines on the control of COVID-19," the statement added.

Maharashtra was the first state to announce a night curfew after reports emerged of the new virus strain in the UK earlier this week.

Karnataka said on Tuesday it would restrict non-essential movement between 10 pm and 6 pm. Yesterday, the state government said the curfew would be from 11 pm and 5 am till January 2.

The night curfew, ordered because of fears that the new mutant strain of the novel coronavirus would lead to yet another surge in infections, had not been well received by shopkeepers, traders and businessmen in the state. The number of daily new cases are much lower now than in earlier months but there are worries of a second wave.

The curfew coincided with the Christmas and New Year holiday period, which hotels, restaurants, bars and pubs in Bengaluru and other major cities would have been hoping to cash in on, particularly since many are running on months of accumulated losses due to the earlier lockdown.

"Between December 23 and January 2, no event or festive celebration is allowed to take place after 10 pm. It applies to every kind of event," Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had told reporters on Wednesday. Christmas mass would be allowed with precautions.

The government has banned flights from UK till December 31. Those arriving on flights before the ban came into effect were tested on arrival.

The centre has said the new strain has yet to be detected in India, and that it is prepared to deal with possible cases. 22 people arriving on flights from the UK over the past few days tested positive; their samples have been sent for further testing to confirm the strain.

On Monday, Maharashtra announced a 11 pm to 6 am night curfew till January 5 in Mumbai and other cities. That too was a day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he was against such an order but was only acting on experts' recommendation.

Maharashtra has the reported the most number of Covid cases in the country since the pandemic began in December last year - over 19 lakh - followed by Karnataka with more than 9.1 lakh.