Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will call a meeting to decide on relaxing Covid-induced restrictions on Ganesha festival, the state cabinet said on Saturday. 

“The chief minister has been authorised to call a meeting (of experts and officials) and take a decision regarding Ganesha festival celebrations,” said law and parliamentary affairs minister JC Madhuswamy.

He informed that Bommai would speak with deputy commissioners and superintendents of police of various districts to vet the Covid-19 infection rate in their areas. 

“He (CM) is likely to take a decision either by tomorrow or day after tomorrow on the celebration of the festival by following the Covid protocols, to have a policy for the entire state (for such celebrations) he will seek inputs from experts and district administrations,” said Madhuswamy.

Several organisations and political leaders, mostly from the BJP and those with Sangh Parivar background, have been mounting pressure on the state government to ease the curbs on the festival. 

Citing Covid-19, the government had, earlier, banned the celebration of the festival in public and said the people can celebrate in their houses. 

The minister said expert opinion would be sought on whether to lift the weekend curfew in three or four districts where it is still in force. 

Karnataka Covid restrictions 

The state government had earlier this week decided to ease night curfew regulations in most areas except four districts – Kodagu, Hassan, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi — which are sharing its borders with Kerala.

Moreover, the state also tightened the quarantine rules for passengers from Kerala. In a fresh order, the government said that one-week institutional quarantine and testing after seven days, irrespective of vaccination or negative RTPCR report, is compulsory for people coming from Kerala.

The Karnataka government had earlier decided to delegate to district authorities the power to formulate Covid containment measures instead of imposing a statewide curfew.

Along with this, the existing guidelines – night curfew across the state and weekend curfew in border districts – were also ordered to continue.

Covid situation in state 

Karnataka on Saturday reported less than 1,000 new Covid19 cases with 983 infections and logged 21 deaths, taking the total caseload to 29,54,047 and the toll to 37,401.

Saturday also saw 1,620 discharges, taking the total number of recoveries in the state so far to 28,98,874. 

Out of 983 cases reported on Saturday, 289 were from Bengaluru Urban, as the city saw 618 discharges and seven deaths.

The active cases in the state stood at 17,746. While the positivity rate for the day was 0.61%, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) was 2.13%.

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