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Karnataka Seeks Govt Nod For Booster Jabs; Clamps New Curbs Amid Omicron Fears

Second dose of vaccination has been made compulsory for those working in government offices, malls, hotels, cinema halls, zoos, swimming pools and libraries. (REUTERS/Amit Dave)

Second dose of vaccination has been made compulsory for those working in government offices, malls, hotels, cinema halls, zoos, swimming pools and libraries. (REUTERS/Amit Dave)

All arrivals from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong will have to undergo compulsory RT-PCR tests at the port of entry or airport.

Amid mounting global concerns over new coronavirus strain Omicron and two South African passengers testing positive in Bengaluru, the Karnataka government on Saturday announced a host of curbs as it sought to proactively contain the pandemic situation that looks set to explode bringing in fresh fears of another horrific wave of infections. The state has also asked the Centre for permission to administer booster shots to its frontline workers.

The state government has made it mandatory for all international arriva;s from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong to undergo compulsory RT-PCR tests at the port of entry or airport. They will be allowed to leave only after testing negative, a government circular said. Additionally, all those who have arrived from these three countries in the last 15 days will be tracked and made to undergo RT-PCR tests again. All positive samples will undergo genome sequencing to identify the strain, it stated.

It has also been decided to increase surveillance at all districts bordering Kerala even as the neighbouring state tightened curbs at its airports. The decision was taken after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting with officials regarding the control of Covid-19. He also held virtual discussions with District Officers of seven Districts - BBMP Bangalore City District, Dharwad, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu and Mysore.

In the high-level meeting, it was decided to intensify screening of international passengers at the airports and make RT-PCR test reports compulsory for those arriving from Kerala and Maharashtra.

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The Chief Minister instructed the officials to go on an aggressive campaign to trace those who have not taken the second dose of the vaccine and cover them at the earliest.

In the meeting, it was also decided to impose a temporary ban on cultural programmes in schools and colleges, and make the second dose of vaccination compulsory for those working in government offices, malls, hotels, cinema halls, zoos, swimming pools and libraries, Revenue minister R Ashok said while briefing media persons.

The important decisions of the meeting are.

  • Strict vigil in the areas bordering Kerala and Maharashtra.
  • RT-PCR negative report compulsory for those entering the state from Kerala and Maharashtra.
  • Compulsory RT-PCR test again (second time) for students from Kerala who arrived in the last 14 days.
  • Students in hostels who have got negative RT-PCR test reports would have to get the RT-PCR test done again on the seventh day after the first report.
  • More intense testing for students in medical and nursing colleges.
  • Intensify screening of international travellers at airports. No entry into the cities for those who test positive.
  • Those who tested positive at airports would be sent to hospitals for treatment.
  • Temporary ban on cultural programmes in schools and colleges.

Karnataka requests Centre’s approval for Booster Dose

Karnataka is keen to administer a booster dose of the vaccine as part of its plan to prevent a third wave of Covid in the state. The high-level committee discussed the issue. “We have urged the union government to allow the state to administer the booster dose, especially for the front line workers. We may get the go-ahead from the centre in a week," Ashok said.

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The vaccination campaign has covered a large segment of the population. However, the need for the booster dose is being felt, especially for the front line workers who got vaccinated at the very beginning of the vaccination campaign.

The Centre has been requested to permit the state to administer the Booster dose for front line workers. The Centre is likely to respond positively to the state’s request, Ashok said.

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first published:November 27, 2021, 20:49 IST