The Karnataka health department has sealed Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) campus at Manipal in the state's Udupi district due to the surge in Covid cases, Health Minister K. Sudhakar said on Friday.
"As the number of Covid patients in MIT rose to 770 so far, with 184 positive cases reported on Friday, we have sealed the campus, which was declared a containment zone on March 17," Sudhakar told reporters here.
Manipal is 400km from Bengaluru on the west coast of the southern state.
COVID-19 cases spike
"We are taking stringent measures across the state to contain the virus spread in its second wave," asserted Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.
The coastal district has tested about 6,000 students in the institute, though most of them were found to be asymptomatic.
"The Covid patients have been isolated and quarantined for treatment in the Manipal hospital," said Udupi deputy commissioner G. Jagadish.
With 2,566 fresh cases registered on Thursday, the state's Covid tally shot up to 9,81,044, including 19,553 active cases, while 9,48,988 recovered, with 1,207 discharged in the last 24 hours.
Accounting for over 60 per cent of the cases in the state, Bengaluru reported 1,490 fresh cases on Thursday, taking its Covid tally to 4,24,349, including 13,327 active cases, while 4,06,49 recovered, with 632 discharged on Friday.
Asserting that factual Covid data was being made public daily, the minister said the state government was not hiding numbers, which are reported to the Union Health Ministry online in real time.
"No question of hiding Covid numbers. We do not intend to hide the data or it is possible as the Union Health Ministry monitors every state daily in real time," reiterated Sudhakar.
Noting that state Chief Minister B.S. Yedyiurappa was ready to call for an all-party meeting to discuss the pandemic situation in the state, Sudhakar said the opposition leaders of the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) were welcome to give their suggestions in controlling the infection.
"The government is free to discuss the Covid situation with the opposition leaders and take their suggestions in arresting the surge," he affirmed.
Referring to the state government's decision to ban ensuing festivals in public places to prevent large gatherings and mass congregations across the state the minister said people should strictly follow the guidelines to protect from the infection.
"The state technical advisory committee of health experts has given many precautionary measures to contain the second wave. Though it is difficult to restrict normal activities, a decision to regulate them to check the virus spread," added Sudhakar.
In an order on Thursday, Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar banned celebrating festivals like Holi, Easter, Shab-e-Barat and Ugadi in coming weeks in public places to prevent large gatherings or mass congregations for containing the pandemic.
Deputy Commissioners in all the remaining 30 districts across the state have also been directed to ensure strict compliance of the order by all the concerned to prevent the virus spread.
The order warned of action under the Disaster Management Act and Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act against those violating the Covid-induced guidelines.
(With inputs from IANS)