Bengaluru: The Karnataka chief minister’s office on Thursday (July 9) announced that the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and the Bengaluru Palace grounds will be converted into COVID-19 care centres due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

The state government has already converted the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre in north Bengaluru into a COVID-19 care facility with over 10,000 beds.

Revenue minister and also state’s COVID management in-charge R Ashoka said, “People of Bengaluru need not panic. All necessary equipment and preparation are being arranged by the state. We have over 600 ambulances ready to take care of COVID patients.”

Already, some of the iconic sports stadiums in India have been turned into quarantine centres.

As per the data from the Union ministry of health and family welfare, a total of 28,877 COVID-19 cases have surfaced in Karnataka, including 16,531 active cases and 11,876 recoveries while 470 people have died of the infectious virus in the state so far.

Bengaluru's local civic body the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Thursday announced free COVID-19 tests for people suffering from Influenza-like Illness (ILI) or Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) at BBMP fever clinics in the city.

Further, all out-patient services for ILI, SARI patients at BBMP, and government hospitals will also be made free, a notification issued by BBMP read.

While sample collection in private hospitals has been capped at Rs 350, the facility will be made available only to ILI, SARI patients on the advice of the treating doctor, the notification clarified.

Meanwhile, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa on Thursday called state ministers, MPs, MLAs and corporators from Bengaluru for a meeting to discuss strategy to manage the COVID-19 situation in the city.

According to sources in the chief minister's office, the meeting is scheduled to take place in Palace Grounds on Friday morning.