Bengaluru: Amid fresh COVID-19 concerns in different parts of the country and apprehensions about a possible fourth wave of the pandemic, the Karnataka government on Monday decided to issue guidelines making wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing compulsory. The decision was taken at a meeting headed by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with senior ministers, officials and the COVID-19 technical advisory committee consisting of experts here, to review the situation in the state amid concerns over a possible fourth wave.
Masks should be worn compulsorily, especially at places where there is a crowd and in indoor places, social distancing has to be maintained. Guidelines will be issued today to this effect. We have not taken any decision regarding imposing any penalty immediately, Health Minister K Sudhakar said.
Also Read: COVID-19: These Cities Make Masks Mandatory Yet Again As Cases Rise In India
Speaking to reporters after taking part in the meeting, the minister said the number of positive cases have slightly increased in Bengaluru, where the positivity rate is 1.9 per cent, and the situation will be monitored and supervised with guidelines about the treatment if required.
On April 27, the Prime Minister will be holding a video conference with Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of all states, where more guidance and information may be shared. After that, we will hold another round of meeting here and further measures, if required, will be taken, he added.
Pointing out that according to the World Health Organisation, health issues like hospitalisation and ICU care are required more among unvaccinated people, the minister said the number of people who have taken preventive dose (third dose) is low, and more people will have to get the booster jabs.
People above 60 years are being given the preventive or third dose for free. Don’t wait for the next wave, take the preventive dose and protect yourselves, he advised.
Noting that countries like South Korea, Thailand and Japan have been reporting a spike in cases, Sudhakar said the passengers travelling directly to the state from these countries will be specially monitored at the airports and their details and contact numbers will be collected, and they will be telemonitored at home.
In response to a question, the minister said Omicron BA.2 sub-lineages are emerging, but until an official report comes from the INSACOG lab, it will be difficult to say which variant is prevalent.
They (lab) have collected samples for genomic sequencing and we may get a report in two to three days, he said, adding that if the samples are Omicron sub-lineages, symptoms will be more or less the same.
Highlighting that about 10,000 COVID tests are being conducted on average per day, Sudhakar responded to a question and said the Centre’s guidelines about testing those symptomatic is being followed by the state.
Regarding severity of the infections, he said the state government has obtained information regarding the situation in other states like Delhi where there are no major issues and the rate of hospitalisation or those requiring ICU care is low, whereas in foreign countries hospitalisation at few places is more and it may be because of low rate of vaccination there.
Responding to a question, Minister Sudhakar said the guidelines on masks and maintaining social distance are applicable to all whether it is the common man or any political party, and they need to be followed in the interest of public health at large.
Karnataka recorded 60 fresh COVID-19 cases and zero fatalities on Sunday, taking the total infections in the state to 39,46,934, and death toll to 40,057.
Also Read: Unvaccinated People Increase COVID-19 Risk For Those Who Are Vaccinated: Study
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.