Semi-lockdown in Karnataka till January 19 after unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases


Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has declared restrictions and announced new guidelines till January 19 in the wake of an unprecedented surge of Covid-19 cases in the state on Tuesday. The night curfew has been extended till January 19 and weekend curfew is also being imposed as a preventive measure to check the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to reporters after a marathon meeting held to discuss the prevailing situation in the state held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Minister for Health K Sudhakar has stated that classes from 1 to 9 standards have been suspended.

Pubs, bars, restaurants, theaters will operate with 50 per cent of their capacity during the weekdays. At any given point of time, the number of devotees is restricted to 50 in all religious places and prayer halls, he stated.

The number of guests for marriages is limited to 100 if the function is held in choultries, interior location and 200 for outdoor locations, he said. International passengers if test positive at the airports will not have an option for home isolation. They will be directly sent to government-designed hospitals and hotels.

Those who returned from Goa state would be tracked and tested again as most of Goa returnees are testing positive for Covid, Minister Sudhakar explained. The RT-PCR negative report had been made compulsory for those traveling from Goa, Maharashtra and Kerala states. There will be intensive surveillance at the borders, he explained.

The government offices below the Under Secretary level operate with 50 per cent capacity and the services of the staff would be utilized by the Health department. Above the Under Secretary rank officers would attend the offices fully, he said.

The state has seen a jump from 0.16 per cent to 3.12 per cent in terms of infections. “The infection is doubling in every 2-3 days. Earlier, in the first and second waves, it took about 8-15 days. We are seeing vertical growth of Covid cases this time,” he said. Since Bengaluru is the epi-centre of infections, separate strategies are formulated by the government to deal with the situation in Bengaluru and the rest of the state.

P. Ravikumar, Chief Secretary and Chairman State Executive Committee stated that Karnataka is witnessing an alarming rate of increase in the number of patients which is attributed mainly due to the Omicron variant. The number of patients getting doubled in less than 3 days, he added.

In Bengaluru Urban district, all schools and colleges except medical, para Medical will remain closed from January 6 except classes 10, 11 and 12, he said. Religious places are open only for darshan, and no seva is allowed. Sports complexes and stadia are allowed to function with 50 per cent capacity.

All rallies, dharnas, protests are prohibited. Any violations, legal action will be initiated under Disaster Management Act and IPC sections, he explained. The weekend curfew will start from Friday 8 pm to Monday 5 am. Essential and emergency activities are allowed during weekend and night curfew.

All industries including the IT industry are exempted from the restriction of curfew.

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