Masks mandatory in Karnataka: Here’s how the Covid situation is around India

Amidst fresh COVID-19 concerns in different parts of the country and apprehensions of a potential fourth Covid wave, the Karnataka government on Monday issued guidelines reiterating that wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing is compulsory.

The decision came at a meeting headed by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with senior ministers, officials, and the COVID-19 technical advisory committee (TAC) consisting of experts, to review the situation in the state amid fears over a potential fourth wave.

“Masks should be worn compulsorily, especially at places where there is a crowd and in indoor places, physical distancing has to be maintained. We have not taken any decision regarding imposing any penalty immediately,” Health Minister K Sudhakar said. The minister said the positivity rate in Bengaluru has increased and the situation in the city is being closely monitored and supervised.

“On April 27, the Prime Minister will be holding a video conference with Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of all the states, where more guidance and information may be shared,” he added. Covid-related restrictions were removed from the state on February 28, due to the low incidence of cases.

The government order issued later in the day also mentioned that spitting in public places will be punishable with a fine, as prescribed in the laws, rules, or regulations by the local authorities. Individuals are required to maintain a distance of about 2 feet in public places.

Currently, there is a surge in cases in Delhi, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu, and a slight increase is observed in Karnataka, it said. As a proactive step to minimize the number of cases, this order is being issued as per the recommendations of the TAC, though other states have reintroduced the mask mandate with a penalty for non-compliance, the state government said.

Referring to the WHO guidelines that said health issues like hospitalization and ICU care are required more for unvaccinated people, the Health Minister pointed out that the number of people who have taken the preventive dose (third dose) is low, as more people are yet to take the booster.

Omicron BA.2 sub-lineages are emerging, but until an official report comes from the INSACOG lab, it is difficult to predict which variant is prevalent. Stating that about 10,000 tests are being conducted on an average per day, Sudhakar said the Union government’s guidelines about testing those who are symptomatic are followed by the state.
Regarding the severity of the infections, he said the state government is informed about the situation in other places like Delhi-where there are no major issues and the rate of hospitalization or those requiring ICU care is low. However, in some countries, hospitalization is more, possibly due to low vaccination rate.

References: The News Minute

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