Cultural activities in schools,colleges to be postponed
New restrictions have been imposed in Karnataka amid the fear of spread of the new Covid variant, Omicron. It is unofficially determined as “not serious”, Revenue Minister R. Ashoka told a press conference on Friday.
“From today, only double vaccinated people will be allowed into malls, cinema halls and schools. Parents of school kids should also be compulsorily double vaccinated.” Up to 500 persons will be allowed at weddings.
All cultural activities in educational institutions should be postponed till January 15, 2022.
There will be compulsory testing for health workers, persons above 65 years and people with comorbidities. The Covid control room was dormant for a while, but will be restarted, he said.
Testing for Covid at airports is available for all. The RT-PCR test is available for Rs 500, and the rapid antigen test costs Rs 3,000 in Bengaluru. It’s Rs 4,000 or more in other states.
People found not wearing masks in municipal corporation areas will be fined Rs 250. The penalty for other areas is Rs 100, according to a state government order.
The winter session of the legislature in Belagavi won’t be postponed. It hasn’t been happening for two years, Ashoka said.
The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting chaired by chief minister Basavaraj Bommai.
“Covid testing was only 60,000 per day. But we will be increasing it to 1 lakh per day now. ICU beds, general beds, oxygen supply and oxygen plants… will be updated to deal with a possible surge in cases,” he added.
Shilpa Nagraj has been appointed surveillance officer.
About 10 foreigners who had travel history in Africa going missing in Bengaluru, the minister said they will be traced and tested by midnight. The matter has been referred to the police commissioner.
Earlier Health minister K Sudhakar said medical institutions in the state are gearing up for a possible third wave of Covid-19.
“Pediatric ICUs and purchase of equipment, everything is being taken care of,” health minister K. Sudhakar told a press conference.
Asked how many beds have been reserved for Omicron patients, Sudhakar replied: “It is too early to say…. We still have to see if normal Covid positive patients and Omicron positive patients should be kept together or in separate isolation wards.”
He appealed to every citizen to be ethical. “One should not switch off their phones or become untraceable if they have tested positive,” Sudhakar said, referring to the 10 missing travellers from South Africa. These people arrived in Bengaluru between November 12 and 22. The Deccan Herald quoted officials as saying two of them gave wrong addresses on their arrival. The health department has asked for police help to trace them.
So far, 57 persons have arrived in Karnataka from high-risk countries.
The state government will clear Covid risk allowance soon. “Within 20 days, through the HRMS portal, all salaries which are due will be credited,” Sudhakar said.
Sudhakar held the press conference after discussing with officials the plan of action for the next two months.
At the virtual meeting, with the officials of the Department of Medical Education, secretaries and college authorities, the health ministry gave them advice on how to handle the Covid situation.
“Medical institutions are very important facets of tertiary healthcare,” Sudhakar said. “That is why we have reviewed the situation with the deans and HoDs of these institutions.”
“HoDs, assistant professors and senior doctors should compulsorily act with responsibility and so should the house surgeons and PhD students,” he said.
He spoke about the importance of the nursing service. To ramp up nursing, the 18,000 paramedical and nursing staff in Karnataka will be trained for a month. “The problem we faced last time was a lack of nursing staff. So now we’re prepping for it now itself,” he added.