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 on 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. 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.
The New Norms Issued by Karnataka Govt:
• For International Travellers: 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. Instructions have also been given to take precautionary measures for existing Delta variants, along with Omicron, the government said.
• No Entry in Malls, Cinema Without Full Vaccination: 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 Limited to 500 People: 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 HCWs, Senior Citizens: Compulsory testing of health workers, old persons above 65 years and persons with comorbidities will be undertaken by the Government.
• Fine for Not Wearing Mask: 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.
• Containment Zones for High Cases: 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.
• Ensure Availability of Enough Oxygen, ICU Beds: The CM has instructed the Health department to ensure the availability of oxygenated and ICU beds, 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.
• Ensure Availability of Vaccines: Officials have also been asked to ensure availability of vaccines and required medicines by procuring them.
• Fresh SOPs for Christmas, New Year in Tow: 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.
With inputs from PTI.