India locks down IT hub Bangalore

India's IT hub Bangalore has been locked down because of fears that it was becoming a virus hotspot. This will have a profound effect on India's economy, considering that Bangalore is India's primary centre for hi-tech. Meanwhile, other cities have been locked down as well, and it seems that the pandemic is not slowing down anytime soon.

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India’s IT hub Bangalore will go back into lockdown Tuesday as the number of coronavirus cases in the country surged towards a million with about 500 people dying daily. India has decided to lock down Bangalore for a week on account of pandemic hotspot scare.

After imposing one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in late March, India has been steadily easing rules to lessen the huge economic impact. But infections have continued to soar, passing 900,000 on Monday with almost 24,000 deaths, according to health ministry figures that many experts say underplay the severity of the situation.

India locks down Bangalore effective immediately

In an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus in the Karnataka capital, a week-long lockdown will be imposed in Bangalore Urban and Rural districts from Tuesday. The lockdown restrictions will come into effect from 8 pm today and will continue till 5 am on July 22.  Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has appealed to Bengalureans to follow all guidelines, and take all precautionary steps to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Bengaluru Urban has recorded over 18,000 coronavirus cases.

The flights and trains which are already scheduled will continue to operate but no new flights or trains will be permitted during the lockdown period.

Read more: Economic slump in India exacerbated by lockdowns

The Karnataka government led by Yediyurappa has allowed shops selling essential items, including milk, groceries and vegetables to operate from 5 am to 12 noon.

Meanwhile, the order stated that hotels and restaurants have been allowed to operate for take away or home delivery of food items.

Places of worship will remain closed and religious congregations are strictly prohibited.

According to the orders issued by Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar, the opening of theatres, malls, bars, gyms, swimming pools have not been permitted.

India locks down Bangalore as it emerges as new hotspot

Mumbai and the capital New Delhi have been the worst hit so far but the southern city of Bangalore, home to more than 13 million people, has emerged as a new hotspot.

A seven-day lockdown in the city is set to begin at 8:00 pm (1430 GMT), the government announced earlier. Transport will be banned except for emergencies and only shops selling essential items allowed to open.

Read more: People are dying in India due to hunger yet it extends the virus lockdown

Firms in Bangalore’s lifeblood IT sector handling the back-office operations of global corporations can operate, but with only 50 percent of staff allowed on premises at any one time.

The Economy of Bangalore is an important part of the economy of India as a whole and contributes over 87% to the Economy of the State of Karnataka, accounting for 98% of the Software Exports of the State. In 2014, Bangalore contributed US$ 45 billion, or 38 per cent of India’s total IT exports.

New lockdowns in other Indian states

A new lockdown has also been imposed in the western city of Pune, which on Monday reported a record 1,333 new infections, taking the total to 40,000 with 23 deaths.

Other states including Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous with 200 million inhabitants, Tamil Nadu and Assam have also introduced new restrictions.

Kerala in the south, which earlier won plaudits for its handling of the pandemic, has also implemented tight controls in around a dozen areas including state capital Thiruvananthapuram until July 23.

Read more: Lockdown will shake Indian economy to its foundations

The state has seen cases shoot up to over 8,000 following the return of people from Gulf countries where Keralites make up a substantial proportion of foreign workers.

Kerala’s communist-led government last week extended until July 2021 rules on the wearing of masks, social distancing and limiting numbers of people at weddings and funerals.

In a glimmer of hope, Delhi, which apart from several “containment zones” has seen activity return to normal, on Monday reported 1,246 new infections — the lowest in 35 days.

The crowded megacity’s government, which has struggled with overflowing hospitals and morgues, has put on hold plans to turn sports stadiums into coronavirus care centres.

“If a successful battle against coronavirus has been fought anywhere in the world, it is in India,” Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday, saying the country was in a “good position”.

GVS News Desk with additional input by AFP and other sources

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