Amid Omicron worry, Karnataka makes two Covid jabs must for staff

Workers who are not fully vaccinated should be sent back till their two doses are completed, the government said. 

Published: 28th November 2021 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th November 2021 01:36 PM   |  A+A-

Healthcare workers collect swab samples of a child at the Kempegowda Bus Station in Bengaluru on Saturday | Shriram BN

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The Karnataka government has made it mandatory for those working in public places, including all government offices, malls, cinemas, libraries and other places, to get two doses of Covid vaccine. Workers who are not fully vaccinated should be sent back till their two doses are completed, the government said. 

Vigil is being stepped up at airports, especially to check those arriving from abroad and from districts that share borders with Kerala and Maharashtra. The two neighbouring states have continued to witness a high number of Covid cases and travellers from there should also carry a negative RTPCR certificate. 

Health officials have been told to work 24x7 in border areas to screen those entering Karnataka. Police, revenue, and health department officials should work in three shifts and senior officials must conduct surprise checks even at nights, the government stated.

Students from Kerala, who returned to the state over the last 16 days, have to take an RTPCR test again even though they had arrived with a negative report earlier. 

On Saturday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai convened an emergency meeting with health officials, ministers, Covid advisors and other stakeholders as the state reported four virus clusters in Dharwad, Bengaluru and Mysuru over the last few days. Bommai also held a video conference with deputy commissioners from districts that share the border with other states, especially Kerala. 

Both South Africa passengers in quarantine

“I do not have any information on this yet,” the expert added. Samples testing positive for Covid are sent to designated IGSLs (INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories) for genome sequencing as per the advisory of the state. The designated IGSLs in the state are NIMHANS, the National Centre For Biological Sciences and the Indian Institute of Science.

Bengaluru Rural DC K Srinivas said, “The two travellers are Indian nationals who returned from South Africa. One of them arrived on November 11 and the other on November 20. As their tests returned Covid- positive, the samples were sent for genome sequencing. It has been found that they were infected wi th the Del t a variant.” Health officials are on roundthe- clock vigil at the Kempegowda International Airport, strictly monitoring travellers arriving from abroad, especially from South Africa and 10 such high-risk countries.

While one of the travellers has been isolated at a star hotel in Vasanth Nagar, the other is said to be quarantined in Bommanahalli. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials are monitoring their health continuously, said Srinivas. B e twe e n November 1 and 26, 584 persons arrived in Bengaluru from the 10 high-risk countries and 94 travellers have come in from South Africa alone.

Dr Vishal Rao, a member of the Genome Sequencing Committee, said, “It is important to be vigilant against Omicron, which is the latest variant of concern. The speed at which it has overtaken the Delta variant in countries like South Africa and the United Kingdom, there is no doubt that if detected, it will spread fast in our state too. One cannot be lackadaisical about it.

All congregations should stop and genome sequencing should be upped to detect the variant faster.” Atish Bagchi, a Philadelphia- based mathematician, said, “The virus is undergoing endless changes constantly within a single host, and, therefore, in every host. Roughly speaking, if a mutation proves lethal enough to kill the host, then the virus perishes along with the host.

If the mutation allows the host to remain alive, and the virus acquires improved ability to infect cells and avoid detection by the host’s immune system (whether assisted by vaccination or not), then the virus gains an evolutionary advantage and continues to proliferate. One must, therefore, continue to inform oneself, remain super-vigilant, and exercise extreme caution.”

Vigil up again

24x7 vigilance at airports to check passengers arriving from abroad. Round-the-clock screening in districts that share the borders with neighbouring states

RTPCR-negative certificate must for those entering from Maharashtra and Kerala

Schools and colleges cannot organise cultural programmes and seminars

Masks mandatory at all political rallies /campaigns, weddings and other events

Covid test a must once every seven days for those staying in hostels

The Union government expected to permit the booster dose for frontline workers next week

Another meeting with all the stakeholders will be convened to issue detailed guidelines for Christmas and New Year celebrations

Epidemiologist calls for improving vax coverage
With the new coronavirus variant raising fresh concerns, TAC member Dr Giridhara R Babu, in an explainer to TNIE, suggests some of the immediate actions the government can take. 

102 more cases detected at Dharwad college
The SDM Medical College near Dharwad reported 102 new Covid cases on Saturday. With this increase, the institution has detected a total of 306 Covid-positive cases so far. 


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