New Delhi: Amid the threat of COVID-19 variant Omicron, the Karnataka government on Saturday directed officials to intensify screening and testing of travellers at the international airport and permit only those found negative for COVID-19. The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to review the COVID-19 situation in the state.
Earlier, Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar, said, “We are constantly in touch with the Union Health Ministry and have information that this new strain in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel, and Botswana is very contagious and has overtaken the Delta variant.”
“People coming from these affected countries will take the RT-PCR once they land in Bengaluru. If found positive, they will stay in and around the airport and will be treated, if needed. The home quarantine will be mandatory after their arrival,” added the minister.
Strict Monitoring In Areas Bordering Kerala, Maharashtra
In the meeting with experts of the health and disaster department, Bommai also directed strict monitoring in districts sharing borders with neighbouring states of Kerala and Maharashtra. The officials were asked to undertake tight recce on the National Highways. Further, the Bommai government made RT-PCR negative test report mandatory for those coming from Kerala and Maharashtra.
The district collectors (DCs) were instructed to work in three shifts in border districts and get the cooperation of all departments for this.
COVID-19 Outbreak Among Students
The meeting comes amid sudden outbreak of COVID-19 cases in medical and nursing colleges in the state. At least 281 students and staff members of SDM College of Medical Sciences in Dharwad were found positive after a freshers’ party turned into a super-spreader event. Further, at least 12 students of a nursing college in Bengaluru were found infected on Friday.
“We have tested all 1,788 students of the college, some results are awaited. Also, one international school had reported 34 cases and another 12 cases. None of these cases was severe,” said Health Minister Sudhakar.
In view of the rising number of cases amid students, the state government said all those who came from Kerala 16 days ago should undergo RT-PCR test again. The students who are residing in hostels will be tested again on the seventh day after the negative report. Testing for COVID-19 will be increased for students of medical colleges and nursing colleges.
Both Doses Of Vaccine Mandatory
Hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, swimming pools, public libraries and zoo workers must get a double dose of vaccine, the government directed.
Those working in government offices and malls must receive both doses of vaccine. Arrangements will be made for vaccination in government offices and malls.
Karnataka reported 402 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths on Saturday. As per the state’s health department, the state has 6,611 active cases of infection.
Karnataka has recorded 29,94,963 infections since the onset of the pandemic last year.