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Karnataka announces partial relaxation of lockdown from 23 April outside containment zones




Karnataka health minister B. Sriramulu (second right) and medical education minister K. Sudhakar (far right) with CM B.S. Yediyurappa and deputy CM C.N. Ashwath Narayan (far left) | Photo: @sriramulubjp | Twitter
Karnataka health minister B. Sriramulu (second right) and medical education minister K. Sudhakar (far right) with CM B.S. Yediyurappa and deputy CM C.N. Ashwath Narayan (far left) | Photo: @sriramulubjp | Twitter

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has announced partial relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown norms in the state allowing certain construction activities, manufacturing of packaging materials, courier services, among others, from April 23.

The activities will be permitted only outside the COVID-19 containment zones identified by the government.

Service provided by self-employed people like electrician, IT repair, plumbers, motor mechanics, and carpenters in local areas have also been given exemption.

Tea, coffee and rubber plantation have been allowed to work with 50 per cent workforce, and a similar exemption have been given to processing, packaging, sale and marketing of these produce.

“To mitigate hardship to the public, select additional activities have been allowed,which will come into effect from 00.00 hours of April 23,” Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar said in an order on Wednesday.

However, these additional activities will be operationalised by District Administrations and BBMP (city corporation in the case of Bengaluru city) based on strict compliance to the guidelines on lockdown measures, it said.

Before operating these relaxations, district administrations and BBMP (city corporation) shall ensure that all the preparatory arrangements on social distancing in offices, work place establishments as also sectoral requirements are in place, it said, adding that relaxations will not apply in containment zones.

Facing a financial crunch, the state government has been eager to kick-start economic activities in the state that had come to halt due to the coronavirus lockdown.

While hospitality services, bars, malls, theatres, shopping complexes, religious and places of worship among others will continue to remain shut, relaxation of norms has been for activities that are linked to essential services such as health, infrastructure and agriculture.

As per the order, while, public transportation will continue to remain suspended till May 3,private vehicles with passes for emergency services and personnel commuting with passes to places of work and back will be allowed.

Activities permitted include construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and all kinds of industrial projects, including MSMEs, in rural areas and all kinds of projects in industrial estates, where workers are available on site and no one is required to be brought in from outside.

Also permitted to function are manufacturing units of essential goods – drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw materials and intermediates;

food processing industries in rural areas, coal production (mines and mineral production and activities incidental to mining) besides manufacturing units of packaging materials.

Also read: Karnataka allows 33% employees of IT/BT sector to work from office after 20 April

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown

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