Bengaluru, April 15 (IANS) Karnataka intensified vigil by deploying more forces to strictly enforce the extended lockdown in 10 Coronavirus hotspots in the state, an official said on Wednesday.
"More police personnel have been deployed in 10 Covid hotspots, including Bengaluru and Mysuru to strictly enforce the extended lockdown for containing the virus in the state, as per the Union Home Ministry's new guidelines," the official told IANS here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended the lockdown to May 3 from Wednesday to break the virus chain and minimise its cases or fatalities by ensuring the people stay home and maintain social or physical distancing.
The first phase of lockdown was from March 25 to April 14, with public and private transport services, passenger trains and flights suspended across the country.
Besides Bengaluru and Mysuru, which reported 69 and 48 positive cases, 8 other hotspots in the state where the number of such cases is more are Belagavi (18), Kalaburagi (16), Bidar and Chikkaballapur (13 each), Bengaluru Rural and Bagalkot (12 each) and Dakshina Kannada and Uttar Kannada (12 each).
Of the 260 positive cases till Tuesday, 223 are in the 10 hotspots, with Bengaluru and Mysuru accounting for more than (117) half the cases.
"Our attempt is to reduce the positive cases in the hotspots so that they could turn into orange zones from being red zones in the next 2-3 weeks," said the official from the state home department.
Of the 30 districts across the southern state, 10 have remained virus free to date, with 10 of the 20 affected districts reporting 1-8 cases so far.
In his 25-minute nationwide address, Modi said the states have to be very vigilant in hotspots by keeping a close and strict watch on them and those, which are at the risk of becoming ones.
"As the prime minister said every state would be evaluated on how much the lockdown had been followed until April 20, officers of additional director-general of police (ADGP) rank are at all the 10 hotspots to ensure the lockdown is not violated," said the official.
According to the revised guidelines, areas that will succeed in the litmus test and are not hotspots anymore, the lockdown will be relaxed for select necessary activities from April 21.
"Vigilance and enforcement will, however, continue till May 3 and relaxation of lockdown will be withdrawn in the event of fresh cases, as the guidelines stipulate only conditional permission," pointed out the official.
Among the additional measures taken to enforce the lockdown stringently are sealing containment areas, blocking roads and preventing people coming out of houses without valid passes.
"As many people continue to violate the lockdown by coming out of houses for no reason, patrolling has been stepped up to seize vehicles and send back their owners to homes on foot. Barricades have also been placed at inter-sections to prevent vehicular traffic," the official added.
The police seized a whopping 57,600 vehicles, arrested 4,170 people and booked 280 cases for lockdown violations while Rs 95 lakh were collected as fines from the violators since March 25 across the state.