The government should impose a lockdown for another 20 days, former Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy said this morning as he linked the rise in coronavirus cases in India to the ease in restrictions. An immediate shutdown should also be announced in Karnataka, "especially for Bengaluru", the 60-year-old leader said, adding that "Bengaluru will become another Brazil" if stricter restrictions are not put in place.
In a series of tweets, Mr Kumaraswamy said that coronavirus had been spreading fast after the government unveiled the plan to "unlock" India.
"Stop playing with human lives. It will not serve any purpose to seal a few areas. If you care for the human lives in Bengaluru, shut down the city totally for 20 days. Else, Bengaluru will become another Brazil. People's lives are more important than the economy," he wrote in Kannada, attacking the state government.
In another post, he said: "Today India is among the countries with highest number of COVID-19 cases and the problem must be seen in conjunction with our high density of population compared to other countries."
India is the fourth worst-hit nation by the pandemic after the United States, Brazil and Russia. The country's coronavirus tally soared to 4.4 lakh cases this morning. Over 14,000 people have died so far.
A rapid increase is observed in the days following the lifting of the lock-down. The question is, do we passively wait as the country is all set to over take Brazil?— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) June 23, 2020
I urge @CMofKarnataka to immediately announce lock down for 20 days, especially for Bengaluru. I also urge him to grant a compensation of at least Rs. 5000 through DBT to all daily wage workers including cab/auto drivers and weavers.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) June 23, 2020
"A rapid increase is observed in the days following the lifting of the lock-down. The question is, do we passively wait as the country is all set to overtake Brazil? (sic)" the JDS leader further said.
"I urge the Prime Minister to notice that the selective seal-down in containment zones has not served its purpose of arresting the pandemic and to impose a further 20 days national lock down. Lets not put economy ahead of peoples' safety (sic)," the JDS leader added.
Appealing for relief measures for daily-wage workers, cab and auto drivers in the state, he tagged Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and said: "I urge @CMofKarnataka to immediately announce lock down for 20 days, especially for Bengaluru. I also urge him to grant a compensation of at least Rs. 5000 through DBT to all daily wage workers including cab/auto drivers and weavers."
In Karnataka, more than 9,000 people have been affected by the pandemic. The state recorded a single-day spike of 249 cases on Monday. 142 patients have died so far.
Bengaluru, the state's capital, has 919 active cases. Sixty-eight deaths linked to the illness have been reported from the city.
Reacting to HD Kumaraswamy's remarks, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan said: "The former chief minister is welcome to give suggestion but I don't think that the present situation warrants another lockdown.. We have already passed through the lockdown and whatever was required was done."
"We are in a better position to tackle any situation. I don't think that kind of situation in future would emerge here," he added.