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In a respite to citizens and businesses, the Karnataka government on Friday decided to lift the weekend curfew, which was imposed with the intention to arrest the spread of Covid-19. 

"The weekend curfew on Saturday and Sunday is being lifted. This decision has been taken based on the experts' report and subject to conditions. Now, the rate of hospitalisation is about 5 per cent. In case it increases, we will re-impose the weekend curfew," said state revenue minister R Ashok.

“We have based our decision to withdraw weekend curfew on experts' report. What they (experts) are saying is, though the number of cases is increasing, the rate of hospitalization is around 5%. For us, rate of hospitalization is the yardstick," the minister added.

However, the night curfew between 10 am to 5 am every day, and all other Covid curbs, including 50% capacity in restaurants and other places will continue, according to an order issued earlier in the day. Restrictions on protests, rallies, fairs and events will also continue.

Further, primary and secondary education minister BC Nagesh, who was also part of the meeting, said as the positivity rate is high in Bengaluru, the government will decide on reopening schools and colleges in the city on 29 January, while in other places they will continue to operate as they are doing now.

"Luckily, as there is less positivity rate among children of 6-15 years, we will continue to operate schools as it is going on now (other than in Bengaluru). In four to five districts there were district-specific restrictions, the Deputy Commissioners will review and take steps to reopen schools according to local situation," he said. 

The decision came after a meeting held by Chief Minister Basavaraja Bommai regarding the Covid situation in the state. 

The government had last week decided to extend the existing Covid-19 curbs till 31 January due to a sudden spurt in infections and positivity rate. 

However, after the restrictions were imposed, citizens, businesses, organizations and political leaders across party lines had urged the state government to end the weekend curfew. 

Covid situation in state

As many as 47,754 more people tested positive for Covid-19 across Karnataka in the 24 hours ending on Thursday evening, taking the state's positivity rate to 18.48%, said state health minister K Sudhakar.

In addition to this, 29 more people lost their lives to the disease.

Of the total, Bengaluru accounted for 30,540 new Covid cases and eight deaths.

Further, 22,143 patients recuperated and were discharged across the state since Wednesday.

There are currently 2,93,231 active Covid-19 cases in the state, nearly 2,00,000 of which are in Bengaluru.

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