BENGALURU: With three cluster-like situations in Karnataka, where a high number of people is testing positive, the state health department may soon come out with a new set of guidelines. The new norms likely to be included are compulsory RT-PCR tests for those coming from high-risk states, seven-day home quarantine for all, and a mandatory RT-PCR test once every 15 days, for those who work in catering companies and serve food.
According to sources, though the number of cases has not gone up in the state, there are a few districts like Bengaluru Urban, Mangaluru, Tumakuru, Mysuru and Kalaburagi where cases have been seeing an upward trajectory in the last few days. “This calls for alarm. The administration will have to now increase tracing and testing, while the people will have to strictly adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour. We have to understand that the virus is still amongst us and we cannot relax,” said Dr C N Manjunath, Director, Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and Research.
Warning that wedding halls, birthday parties, political, religious and any kind of cultural gatherings can turn into super spreading events, Dr Manjunath said, “There is a lot of movement from Kerala to Karnataka and Maharashtra to Karnataka and vice-versa. These are two high-risk states. We have seen the numbers go up in Maharashtra too. Along with mandatory RT-PCR tests, we will also have to decide on certain kinds of regulations at wedding halls and gatherings,” he said.
Dr K V Thrilok Chandra, the newly-appointed Commissioner of the Department of Health, Family Welfare and Ayush Services, said that the situation calls for increased vigilance, especially in those districts where we know that the footfall of people travelling to and from high-risk states is happening. “We have already made it mandatory for RT-PCR negative tests for people coming in from Kerala to six districts --- Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Udupi, Chamarajanagar, Mysuru and Kodagu. If need be, we will extend it to other districts. As of now, we have noticed that a lot of people travel to and from Kerala which accounts for the country’s highest number of cases,” Thrilok Chandra said.
Meanwhile, the Covid advisory committee and the Covid task force will soon meet up with the BBMP officials and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar to decide on further guidelines which may be needed to help keep the rise in the number of cases in control. The Health Commissioner said that the department
officials and the advisory team will meet in two or three days and decide on the future course of action.