Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu on Thursday said that his assertion that “only God can save us” from the coronavirus were words of caution describing a situation that would arise if things worsened as a result of the state failing to control the virus.

Sriramulu had come under fire for his remarks on Wednesday about the coronavirus situation in Karnataka. “The cases, I am sure 100% will only go up in the next two months,” Sriramulu had told reporters, according to NDTV. “One can keep claiming that it’s because of the government’s negligence or irresponsibility of the ministers or that cases are up because of a lack of coordination among the ministers. All of these allegations are far from the truth. Only God can save us from coronavirus.”

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar had lashed out at the Yediyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party government following Sriramulu’s remarks. He said the minister’s comments reflected poorly on the state government, and that its incompetence had left citizens to “God’s mercy”.

Sriramulu on Thursday tweeted clarifications, directly addressing Shivakumar. He claimed that his words had been “misinterpreted and misunderstood”.

“While responding to claims of the opposition that the government’s negligence, irresponsibility and the lack of coordination among ministers are responsible for the rise in cases in the state, I stated that ‘these accusations are far from the truth’,” Sriramulu tweeted. “People need to be aware and cautious to avoid the spread of the virus. This plays a vital role in controlling the pandemic.”

Sriramulu added that if efforts to control the virus fail at this stage, the situation can get “complicated”. “And if things go worse, then only God can save us,” he said. “These were the words used out of caution. There’s no need create panic in the public.”

The health minister also asserted that the Yediyurappa-led government was working hard to bring the pandemic under control.

But Shivakumar again attacked the Karnataka government on Thursday evening. He said the statements of ministers were leading to panic among the people. He claimed that the state government had no moral right to remain in power as it had “left everything to God”. Shivakumar demanded the resignation of Yediyurappa and his Cabinet, and imposition of Governor’s Rule in the state.

Karnataka has so far reported 47,253 cases of the coronavirus, of which more than half have come from Bengaluru. The toll in the state is 928. The Karnataka government imposed a complete lockdown in Bengaluru for a week starting 8 pm on July 14.

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