- Karnataka Chief Minister on Saturday held an emergency meeting on the new COVID-19 variant.
- Karnataka government also mandated RT-PCR negative reports for those entering the state from Kerala.
- Earlier, two South African nationals tested COVID positive at the Bengaluru international airport.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday held an emergency meeting on the new COVID-19 variant, 'Omricon' as two South African nationals have tested COVID positive at Bengaluru's Kempegowda international airport earlier on Saturday. Intensifying screening of international passengers at airports, heightened border checks, asking educational institutions to postpone their public events were among the measures announced by the government, which also hinted that based on the COVID cases and scenario in the coming days, Karnataka may take certain stringent measures. "Regarding administering booster dose, we have made a request to the central government. It will be administered to frontline workers on priority on getting approval. We may get approval in a week," Revenue Minister R Ashoka told reporters after the meeting.
Here are the top developments:
- International arrivals originating from South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong shall compulsorily undergo RT-PCR testing for COVID19 and only after testing negative, will be permitted to leave the airport, port of entry.
- Earlier, two South African nationals had tested positive for Covid-19. After genome sequencing, authorities stated that they had been infected with the delta variant, and not the new Omicron variant.
- The Karnataka government also mandated RT-PCR negative reports for those entering the state from Kerala and Maharashtra.
- Students who have traveled to the state from Kerala 16 days ago have to undergo RT-PCR test, despite them possessing negative test reports and those staying in hostels will also have to undergo tests once again after seven days, despite having negative certificates now, the revenue minister said. The government's announcement of measures comes from the backdrop of schools and colleges turning into clusters in Dharwad, Anekal, Sarjapura, and Mysuru.
- Observing that cases of the new variants have been detected in the last one week in countries like Botswana, South Africa, Hong Kong, and Israel, state Health Minister K Sudhakar earlier today said guidelines have been given to airports stating those travelling from these countries to the city have to undergo a test despite having negative Covid test report, and they will be allowed outside the airport only after testing negative.
- Noting that two doses of vaccination have been made compulsory for those working at government offices, malls, hotels, swimming pools and theaters, Revenue Minister Ashoka said directions have been given to increase tests for students of medical and nursing colleges.
- The state also issued a temporary ban on cultural programmes in schools and colleges.
- Pointing out that "careless behavior" such as not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing have been noticed at marriages and functions, the Minister said guidelines will be issued regarding wearing masks and other precautionary measures and will be issued in a couple of days.
- Regarding Christmas and New Year celebrations, Ashoka said another round of meetings will be held under the CM's leadership and separate guidelines will be issued for it.
- Clarifying that no new variant cases have been reported in the state so far, he said, experts have told the state government that the new Omicron variant spreads five times faster than the existing ones.