Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala. . Image Source: IANS News

Bengaluru, April 18 : Alarmed by the rapid surge in new cases, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Sunday directed the state government to bring the Covid situation under control soon.

"Take all necessary steps to bring the Covid situation under control at the earliest," he told top officials at an emergency meeting he convened at the Raj Bhavan.

As Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa is under treatment for Covid at a private hospital in the city, Vala called Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister, E.V. Ramana Reddy, and state Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar for the meeting.

"The Governor advised the officials to ensure enough oxygen supply, drugs and beds for Covid patients in hospitals across the state," a Raj Bhavan communique said.

Vala's intervention came on a day when a record 19,067 new cases were reported from across the state, with Bengaluru accounting for 12,793 of them.

The new cases took the state's Covid tally to 11,61,065, including 1,33,543 active cases and the city's tally to 5,46,635, including 97,897 active cases.

The infection also claimed 81 lives in the last 24 hours, with 60 in Bengaluru, taking the state's death toll to 13,351 and the city's toll to 5,063.

Of 620 Covid patients in ICUs, 134 are in Bengaluru hospitals, 109 in Kalaburagi, 44 in Kolar, 42 in Tumakur, and 40 in Mysuru.

In a related development, state Revenue Minister R. Ashoka called for a meeting of Bengaluru's MPs, legislators and ministers on Monday to take stock of the Covid situation in the city.

"The meeting will be held at the state Secretariat and the Chief Minister is likely to attend it through virtual mode from the hospital," he told reporters here.

As the all-party meeting, which was to be held on Sunday, had been postponed after Yediyurappa tested positive on April 16, he directed Ashoka to hold the special meeting along with Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Health Minister K. Sudhakar and the lawmakers from the city.

"The meeting will deliberate on additional measures to be taken to contain the virus spread in the city, which accounts for 75 per cent of the active cases in the state," said Ashoka.

The state government has imposed 'Corona curfew' in 8 districts, including Bengaluru between 10 p.m.-5 a.m. from April 10-20 to check surging cases due to the second wave.

Meanwhile, the state government directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to raid private hospitals in the city which have not reserved 50 per cent of their beds for treating Covid patients, as directed.

"Many private hospitals, including those run by corporates, have set aside only 10-15 per cent of their beds for Covid patients despite assurances that they would reserve 50 per cent of them," Ashoka said.

The action came following complaints on social media and news channels by affected people.

Admitting that the response of private hospitals on reserving half their beds for Covid patients had not been satisfactory, Sudhakar said legal action would be taken against those not complying with the government order.

He also denied shortage of oxygen in ICUs in either state-run or private hospitals, saying the Centre had agreed to rush 300 tonnes, in addition to 800 tonnes produced in the state.

 Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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