With Omicron, strict Covid norms back in Karnataka

Acknowledging that the situation is grave, the government is bringing back the system that was in place during the second wave of the pandemic.

Published: 04th December 2021 05:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2021 05:57 AM   |  A+A-

A health worker at Kempegowda bus station adjusts the mask of an elderly woman in Bengaluru on Friday | Shriram BN

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: With two cases of Omicron variant of Covid19 detected in Bengaluru and clusters forming in educational institutions, the Karnataka government on Friday issued fresh guidelines, making it mandatory for parents, who are sending their children to schools and colleges, to be fully vaccinated. Also, double-dose vaccination is a must for entering malls and cinema halls.

The guidelines, issued after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s meeting with experts to discuss the state’s strategy to contain the Covid spread, stated that educational institutions should postpone all cultural events till January 15.

After the meeting, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said the government is taking measures for proactive monitoring, surveillance and focused implementation of five-fold strategy of test, track, treat, vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour to prevent the spread of the new variant in the state.

Acknowledging that the situation is grave, the government is bringing back the system that was in place during the second wave of the pandemic. It includes increasing the number of tests to one lakh a day, oxygenated beds, oxygen plants, reactivating oxygen transportation system, ensuring the availability of medicines, restarting state control room, appointing nodal officers and giving emphasis on contact tracing. Ashoka said the double-dose vaccination for parents of students below 18 years old has been made mandatory as the number of cases in educational institutions is rising. 

Strict vigil along districts bordering Kerala, Maha

Strict surveillance in districts adjoining Kerala and Maharashtra will continue and international travellers arriving in the state will be tested at the airports. They will be allowed to go out only after their reports come negative, he said.

Instructions have been given to set up more testing units at airports and passengers can take the Abbott test by paying Rs 3,000. One can register for the test while booking the air ticket and it will save time, he advised. “The containment measures will come into force immediately and will be in force until further orders,” the government order stated.

Probe into test anomaly
Ashoka said a probe has been ordered into the Covid test reports of a South African national, who left the country even as his genome sequencing report was awaited that ultimately turned out to be Omicron positive. He had isolated at a hotel in the city and left the country after his second Covid test came as negative. One test report was positive, while the other was negative.

The the lab must be investigated, he said. The police will investigate if there was any mishandling, and wrongdoing, he said and added that Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant has been directed to order the probe. Karnataka has reported two cases of Omicron, including the 66-year-old South African.

The other is a 46-year-old doctor from a reputed hospital in Bengaluru Experts have been asked to look into details of the two Omicron patients and suggest measures to the government. Reports indicate that the patients only had mild symptoms. Apart from two cases in Karnataka, around 400 people have tested Omicron positive in other countries, he said.

SA traveller tests Covid +ve
A traveller from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19 after landing in Bengaluru on Wednesday His swab samples have been sent for genome sequencing to determine whether he is infected with Omicron.

Taking on the variant

Parents of children below 18 years, going to school/college, to be compulsorily vaccinated with two doses

Two doses of vaccine must to enter malls, cinema halls, theatres

All govt employees to be fully vaccinated

Maximum 500 people allowed at gatherings, meetings, conferences; organisers responsible for enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour

Rs 250 fine for not wearing masks in municipal corporation areas, Rs 100 in other areas

Cultural activities, functions in educational institutions to be postponed till Jan 15, 2022

Compulsory testing of health workers, senior citizens, people with comorbidities to be taken up by health dept

Random Covid tests on college students and school children once in 15 days

Hotel and restaurant staff, shopkeepers of malls, markets, cooks, door delivery staff, industrial workers, office workers, pub and bar staff members, attendants in malls, cinema halls, those in crowds and workers of Anganawadi centers shall also under go random tests once in 15 days



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