Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Saturday directed private hospitals in the state to reserve 50% of their beds for coronavirus patients amid a sharp increase in the number of cases.

Yediyurappa said that he was concerned about the deaths of coronavirus patients because of being denied treatment by certain hospitals. The Karnataka chief minister also appealed to hospitals to show humanity towards patients.

During previous meetings with Yediyurappa, private hospital had agreed to provide a total of 4,500 beds for coronavirus patients, the government said.

The Karnataka government has also directed hospitals in Bengaluru to only admit patients with moderate and severe symptoms, NDTV reported on Saturday. “Moderately and severely ill COVID-19 patients are sometimes unable to get admission... in this context, it would be prudent to admit moderately and severely ill patients, both government and private, and encourage asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients to get admitted in Covid care centres or be in home isolation,” the state government said.

Karnataka is scrambling to contain a surge in coronavirus cases. A complete week-long lockdown was imposed in Bengaluru on July 14. Strict restrictions were also imposed in the Dakshina Kannada district. Last week, Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu had said that coronavirus cases in the state may double within a month and that the next two months will be particularly challenging for the government in its fight against the health crisis.

Karnataka has reported 59,652 coronavirus cases and 1,240 deaths so far, according to the Union health ministry.

Minister blames inter-state travel for rising cases

Karnataka Medical Education K Sudhakar said that when the lockdown was relaxed, people from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana started travelling to the state, PTI reported. He accused inter-state travellers of not taking necessary precautions and spreading the infection in Karnataka.

“Bengaluru is a cosmopolitan city so from every nook and corner people came here,” he said. “When they came, they were not mindful of what they were supposed and they spread the infection. I am not washing away the government’s role. The government can do every bit to contain, to treat them, but citizens should cooperate. Society should actively come forward in controlling this pandemic.”

Sudhakar denied that coronavirus had reached the community transmission phase in Karnakata. “If that was the case, the figure would not have been in thousands, it would have been in lakhs,” he said.

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