Karnataka imposes new Covid curbs amid Omicron scare

Karnataka government imposes new Covid curbs amid Omicron scare

Unwilling to be caught off guard, the government will bring back systems that were in place during the devastating second wave of Covid-19

Credit: Twitter/@nkaggere

 Taking a wait-and-watch approach on the Omicron threat, the Basavaraj Bommai administration on Friday chose not to impose curfew-like measures, but limited the number of people attending functions and made vaccination compulsory for parents of school-goers and citizens visiting malls. 

Cultural events, fests and functions in all educational institutions stand cancelled till January 15, the government said in an order issued after Bommai chaired a high-level meeting to review the Covid-19 situation. 

“We are making double vaccination mandatory for people to be allowed inside malls and theatres,” Revenue Minister R Ashoka said. 

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Parents of children below 18 years going to school or college should be compulsorily vaccinated with two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, the government said. Vaccination is a must for government employees, too. 

Ashoka said the relaxation on functions will be revoked. “We are placing a cap of 500 guests attending marriages,” Ashoka said. The 500-limit also applies to all gatherings, meetings and conferences. 

The meeting Bommai chaired discussed the severity of the Omicron threat. “Two cases have been reported in Karnataka. The world over there is 400 cases. Officially, there’s no study report available. But, unofficially, we’ve been told that this infection is not intense. Those infected have mild symptoms and no death has been reported due to Omicron,” Ashoka explained. 

Also Read | Omicron: What we know from the 2 cases in Karnataka

The government, however, is bullish on holding the winter session of the legislature in Belagavi notwithstanding calls for it to be cancelled in the wake of the fresh threat. “Omicron cases are in Bengaluru. Belagavi is safer,” Ashoka said. 

Asked about curbing political meetings happening for the December 10 Legislative Council elections, he said: “For now, we’re focussed on schools and colleges as most of the fresh [Delta variant] cases involve students.” 

Unwilling to be caught off guard, the government will bring back systems that were in place during the devastating second wave of Covid-19. 

Fines for not wearing a face mask in public places will return: Rs 250 in cities and Rs 100 outside. 

“The government has decided to increase daily testing from 60,000 to 1 lakh,” Ashoka said. “Also, directions have been issued to restart oxygen and ICU beds that were set up during the second wave. Oxygen plants should be served and restarted. Committees that were formed to oversee the logistics of oxygen supply will be reactivated,” Ashoka said, adding that state-wide control rooms will be opened once again. “We're preparing for everything.” 

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