Government of Karnataka’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Feb 2020–April 14, 2020)

Subscribe to the PRS Blog

As of April 13, 2020, there have been 260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Karnataka.  Of these, 70 have been discharged and 10 have died.[1]  In order to contain the spread of the disease, both, the Central and State governments have come up with a series of policy responses.  In this blog, we take a look at the key measures taken by the Government of Karnataka in this regard as of April 14, 2020.

Movement restrictions

To contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Government of Karnataka took the following measures to restrict the movement of people in the state:
 

  • On March 13, the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare ordered the closure of various establishments such as theatres, pubs, gyms, malls, swimming pools, and educational institutions until March 21.  The order also directed all international passenger arrivals to be mandatorily home quarantined for 14 days.[2]
     
  • On March 20, the above order was revised to extend the closure of said establishments until April 1.  The order also banned all religious gatherings.[3]
     
  • Further, on March 23, all bus services to and from the nine districts that had reported COVID-19 positive cases were completely stopped until April 1.[4]
     
  • The central government later announced a 21-day country-wide lockdown starting March 25.[5] This was followed by the announcement of a pass system by the Bengaluru Commissioner of Police on March 25 to regulate the movement of people in Bengaluru City.[6]
     
  • On April 6, District Collectors were empowered to issue inter-district transport passes.[7]
     
  • On April 14, the Prime Minister announced the extension of the lockdown till May 3, 2020.[8] On April 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines on the measures to be taken by governments until May 3. As per these guidelines, to mitigate hardship to the public, select activities will be permitted from April 20 onwards. These include health services, agriculture and related activities, financial sector, MNREGA works, cargo movement etc. In addition, subject to conditions, commercial and private establishments, industrial establishments, government offices, construction activities etc, will also be permitted.[9]

Essential Goods and Services

  • The pass system in Bengaluru City facilitated the movement of personnel involved in manufacturing and providing essential goods and services. 
     
  • On April 2, the government announced that it will distribute the excess stock of milk to poor people for free.[10]
     
  • On April 6, the government declared that rations for the month of April will be supplied to people without the usual OTP authentication process.[11]

Health Measures

Karnataka Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations 2020

On March 11, 2020, the government released the Karnataka Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID19 in the state.  These regulations specify the protocol for hospitals to follow for screening and treating COVID-19 patients. These regulations are valid for one year.[12]

Preventive measures

On February 5, 2020, the Department of Health & Family Welfare and AYUSH services issued the Terms of Reference for district-level teams to take preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19.[13] The terms relate to various administrative and complementary aspects related to COVID19 management. These include activities of various teams, human resource management, training and awareness generation etc.

Following this, on April 6, 2020, the Department also issued instructions to all districts to prepare a District Level Crisis Management Plan to prevent large outbreaks of COVID-19.[14]

Setting up of fever clinics, isolation centres etc

On March 4, the state government issued guidelines to the district administration to ensure hospitals maintain a 10-bed isolation ward for COVID-19 patients.[15]  

On March 31, the government issued orders to establish fever clinics as the first points of contact for COVID-19 suspect patients.  These fever clinics would have COVID-19 Rapid Response team of one doctor, two nurses and a health care worker.[16]

Personnel measures

On March 30, the Department of Health & Family Welfare invited applications from doctors for immediate appointment (on contract basis) in Urban Primary Health Centres in Bengaluru City.[17]  Subsequently, on April 2, the state government issued orders to extend the tenure of retiring medical professionals from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020.[18]

On March 26, all Registered Medical Practitioners were permitted to provide telemedicine services during the lockdown period. Telemedicine services will be available for minor, non-COVID-19 ailments, and  existing patients only.[19]

For more information on the spread of COVID-19 and the central and state government response to the pandemic, please see here.


[1] Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) Media Bulletin, Karnataka, Department of Health and Family Welfare, last accessed on April 15, 2020, https://karunadu.karnataka.gov.in/hfw/kannada/nCovDocs/14-04-2020(English).pdf

[2] GOK order No. DD/SSU/COVID-19/17/19-20, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, March 13, 2020, 

https://karunadu.karnataka.gov.in/hfw/kannada/nCovDocs/Notification(Covid-19)-Dir-HFWS.pdf

[3] Revised GOK order No. DD/SSU/COVID-19/17/19-20, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, March 20, 2020  https://karunadu.karnataka.gov.in/hfw/kannada/nCovDocs/Revised-Order-COVID-19(20-03-2020).pdf

[4] Order No. STA-6/SCP/PR-20/2019-20, Directorate of Transport, Government of Karnataka, March 23, 2020, https://transport.karnataka.gov.in/storage/pdf-files/restrictions.pdf

[5] Order No. 1-29/2020-PP, National Disaster Management Authority, March 24, 2020, https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/ndma%20order%20copy.pdf.

[6] Order No.02 / CP-BLR/Covid-19/2020, Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City, March 25, 2020, https://karnataka.gov.in/storage/pdf-files/covid_rules/Covid_pass.pdf

[7] Order of Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, April 6, 2020, https://ksuwssb.karnataka.gov.in/frontend/opt1/images/covid/Orders/IMG-20200406-WA0005.jpg

[8] “PM addresses the nation for 4th time in 4 Weeks in India’s fight against COVID-19” Press Release, Prime Minister’s office, April 14, 2020, https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1614255

[12]Karnataka Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations 2020, Government of Karnataka, March 11, 2020,  https://karunadu.karnataka.gov.in/hfw/kannada/nCovDocs/Exercise-of-Powers-COVID-10(11-03-2020).pdf

[13] No. JRO(1A)/148/2019-20, Department of Health & Family Welfare and AYUSH Services Government of Karnataka, February 5, 2020, https://ksuwssb.karnataka.gov.in/frontend/opt1/images/covid/Circulars/%E0%B2%B8%E0%B3%81%E0%B2%A4%E0%B3%8D%E0%B2%A4%E0%B3%8B%E0%B2%B2%E0%B3%86%20%E0%B3%A8%E0%B3%AA.pdf  

[15]Circular No. HFW 47 CGM 2020 (P), Government of Karnataka, March 3, 2020,   https://karunadu.karnataka.gov.in/hfw/kannada/nCovDocs/Guidelines-Isolation-Ward.pdf