Karnataka confirmed 138 covid-19 positive cases on Friday, that takes the total number of active cases to 1104 in the state.
The sharp spike in numbers comes even as the B.S.Yediyurappa-led state government deliberates on further relaxation of the covid-19 induced lockdown.
The state government, that had eased travel between districts, has also now done away with screening at borders to avoid long pile up of vehicles and limited personnel to check for symptoms that further raises the risk of the virus reaching villages where healthcare infrastructure is poor and inadequate.
S.Suresh Kumar, Karnataka’s primary and secondary education minister said that 116 people who tested positive are those who returned from other states including 111 from Maharashtra and two each from Telangana, Jharkhand and Delhi.
Of the 138 cases on Friday, 47 were in Chikballapur, 14 in Hassan, 10 in Raichur and nine in Bidar. The sugarcane region of Mandya recorded eight cases on Friday while that takes that active case count to 184 which is the highest in the state. Bengaluru recorded five cases that took its active case count to 121.
The state government continues to believe that most of those testing positive are those returning from other states and not those travelling within.
Nearly 600 people have tested positive in the last five days that include 138 on Friday, according to government data.
Over a 100 trains, carrying over 2 lakh migrant workers has left for different states from Karnataka since 3 May. Yediyurappa, who was criticised for holding them back allegedly at the behest of the builders lobby, on Friday announced that the state would bear the expenses of these train tickets.
“Government has considered the plea of migrant workers who were unable to bear the travel expenditure to go back to their home town," according to a post from the official handle of the Karnataka chief minister. In a three part tweet, he said that these people will be considered as our own and that the “cost of travel of migrant workers and stranded persons to their respective states by Shramik Trains up to 31st may, 2020," will be borne by the state government.
Kumar said that there is no information on how many people who left Karnataka have tested positive on arrival at their respective states.
A total of 1.34 lakh people have returned to Karnataka from other states and at least 432 of these have tested positive, according to data by the covid-19 war room.
Karnataka chief minister B.S.Yediyurappa held meetings on Friday to determine if the state would continue its institutional quarantine policy or would now send people back home as space becomes a constraint in its facilities.
The state government, that has also resumed public bus services, also flagged off intra-state train services on Friday that adds to the fears. Domestic flights will resume operations from Monday, according to the union government.
Kumar said that Karnataka had tested 12229 people on Friday, the highest in the state that adds to its efforts in containing the spread of the virus in the state.