Bengaluru Ends Lockdown, BS Yediyurappa Appeals For Cooperation

Bengaluru has been under a week-long lockdown - from July 14 to 22 - to combat the COVID-19 virus spread; the urban district of the city alone has recorded over 33,000 cases so far

Bengaluru had earlier extended the coronavirus lockdown to curb the spread of the virus (File)

Bengaluru:

There will be no coronavirus lockdown, outside of containment zones, in Bengaluru from tomorrow (July 22), Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said Tuesday, stressing that his government was working "day and night" to contain the virus.

Bengaluru has been under a week-long lockdown - from 8 PM July 14 to 5 PM July 22 - to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus; the urban district of the state capital alone has recorded over 33,000 cases so far.

"I would like to clarify. No more lockdown in Bengaluru from tomorrow. No more lockdown going ahead in Karnataka and Bengaluru. Only in containment zones. I appeal for your co-operation," Mr Yediyurappa said at a virtual press conference.

The Chief Minister's clarification comes amid rumours the lockdown was to be extended by 15 days, as the state government struggles to contain the outbreak in the city.

On Friday Mr Yediyurappa said lockdowns were not feasible solutions to control the spread of the virus. Instead, he announced orders to track, test and treat patients, especially those above 65.

The rising number of cases in Bengaluru has put pressure on the medical infrastructure in the city, with a lack of hospital beds and ambulances to transport patients the most visible problems.

Mr Yediyurappa addressed that concern today, saying: "People are saying there is a problem with ambulance. We have made arrangements. This is at the booth level also".

On Saturday, as the state government scrambled to arrange for more hospital beds, it ordered private hospitals in the city to reserve 50 per cent of their beds for COVID-19 patients. The Chief Minister said today that over 11,000 beds were now available in the city.

At an earlier meeting, they had agreed to provide around 4,500 beds but failed to deliver that number. The Chief Minister stepped in to assure hospitals of government support where needed.

The Chief Minister also appealed for co-operation from residents and urged people over the age of 55 - considered by medical experts to be at high risk of contracting the virus - to stay indoors.

"I am speaking to you to say we are working day and night. Only with your support can we beat the virus," he said, adding, "Please, those over 55, don't leave home. Children also should stay home".

He also urged people stepping outdoors for employment to wear face masks and maintain social distancing protocols.

Karnataka, which reported 3,648 new cases on Monday, now has 67,420 confirmed infections, of which 42,222 are active cases. 1,403 deaths have been linked to the virus.