In the wake of two cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus being detected in the state, and fresh COVID clusters emerging, the Karnataka government of Friday announced certain preventive measures that include compulsory two dose vaccination for entering malls, cinema halls or theatres, and for parents of school or college going students.
Intensifying screening of international passengers at airports, asking educational institutions to postpone their public events, and limiting gatherings, meetings, conferences to 500 people, are among the other measures announced by the government.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday chaired a meeting with experts, senior Ministers and officials in the wake of two cases of Omicron variant being detected in the state.
”Two cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been detected in Karnataka, and about 400 cases have been detected in the world… there have been no official study reports on these cases so far, but according to unofficially available information these infections are not so intense,” Revenue Minister R Ashoka said.
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Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he said, only mild symptoms have been found among those infected and there have been no reports of any deaths.
”We will be writing to the Government of India requesting a detailed report from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) lab on the two cases…..instructions have been given to take all the precautionary measures,” he said.
Of the two cases of the new Omicron variant detected in the State on Thursday, one 66-year old is a South African national who had left the country after testing negative, while the other is a local person — a doctor aged 46, with no travel history.
Five contacts of the doctor have also tested positive and their samples have been sent for genomic sequencing.
Sharing details about measures decided by the government, Ashoka said international travellers arriving in the state will be tested at the airports;only after their reports come out negative, they will be allowed to go out, and for the benefit of the passengers, instructions have been given to set up more testing units there.
Instructions have also been given to take precautionary measures for existing Delta variants, along with Omicron, he said.
According to the government order, parents of children below 18 years who are going to school or college, should be compulsorily vaccinated with two doses of COVID vaccine, also the entry to malls, cinema halls or theatres shall be allowed only to those who are vaccinated with two doses.
Cultural activities or fests and functions in all educational institutions should be postponed till January 15, 2022.
All gatherings, meetings, conferences, etc, should strictly limit the number of participants to 500 people only and COVID appropriate behaviour shall be strictly enforced during the event. The responsibility to enforce the same, lies with the organisers.
Compulsory testing of health workers, old persons above 65 years and persons with comorbidities will be undertaken by the Government, it said.
Noting that government servants shall be vaccinated with two doses of COVID l9 vaccine, the order said wearing face masks is an essential preventive measure.
In order to strictly enforce the core requirement of masking, BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike), district and local authorities shall impose a fine of Rs 250 in Municipal Corporation Areas and Rs 100 in other areas for any violation in this regard, it said.
There shall be intensive containment (micro containment measures) and active surveillance in clusters or areas reporting higher cases to contain the spread locally, it said, adding that strict surveillance at the border posts setup by the districts adjoining Kerala and Maharashtra shall continue.
Ashoka further said instructions have been given to the Health department to increase the number of tests per day to 1 lakh from the current 60,000.
The CM has instructed the Health department to ensure the availability of oxygenated and ICU beds, like it was available during the second wave of COVID, and also to ensure that oxygen plants are serviced and operational, he said. The Committee that was constituted to ensure Oxygen supply and availability will be once again brought into existence, and control rooms operational.
Officials have also been asked to ensure availability of vaccines and required medicines by procuring them.
In response to a question, the Revenue Minister said, fresh SOP or guidelines will be issued for Christmas and New Year celebrations after discussing with the CM.
He said the legislature session in the border district of Belagavi from December 13-24, will be held as per schedule and a set of rules will be prepared for it.