Karnataka makes mask mandatory in closed spaces, advises outdoor New Year celebrations

All persons hospitalised with respiratory complaints such as ILI and SARI will be compulsorily tested for COVID-19, says Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar

Updated - December 23, 2022 06:40 pm IST

Published - December 22, 2022 11:36 pm IST - Bengaluru

Face masking is compulsory in all indoor and closed spaces such as restaurants, cinemas, buses, and trains, including the metro. File

Face masking is compulsory in all indoor and closed spaces such as restaurants, cinemas, buses, and trains, including the metro. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu photo library

The State government on Thursday reintroduced the mandatory face masking rule in closed spaces, and has advised maintaining social distancing for outdoor Christmas and New Year celebrations. Hospitals have been directed to mandatorily test for COVID-19 all persons admitted with ILI and SARI.

Following the recommendations by the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and guidelines by the Centre in the light of COVID-19 surge in other countries, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting with officials, TAC members, and Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar in Belagavi on Thursday.

The guidelines followed an advisory issued by the Centre directing event organisers to ensure compulsory face masking in all indoor and closed spaces, such as pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, buses, and trains, including metros, shopping malls, offices, etc. This should be followed strictly, particularly by the elderly, and those with comorbidities. People have been advised to celebrate Christmas and New Year outdoors.

Vaccine availability

The State has also directed district officials and BBMP authorities to ramp up testing and ensure vaccine availability and review clinical facilities in terms of beds, drugs, and manpower in government hospitals. Officials have been directed to make available adequate testing teams. All symptomatic persons, especially contacts of positive cases, should be compulsorily tested. All symptomatic persons, who test positive, should be encouraged to follow isolation and treatment as per established protocols, according to the guidelines.

While district hospitals and government medical college hospitals have been directed to reserve a minimal number of isolation beds for COVID-19, all healthcare facilities including private hospitals have been directed to to be prepared to manage any surge in COVID-19 cases.

Testing at airports

“Following the Centre’s guidelines, all positive samples (with a cycle threshold (CT) value <25) should be sent for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). The exercise of 2% random testing of international arrivals both at the Mangaluru and Bengaluru international airports will continue and further guidelines issued in this regard by the Centre will be followed,” the guidelines said.

Officials have also been directed to accelerate the booster dose vaccination in line with supplies — so that the existing coverage of 22% is increased to 50% during December — January next year.

Besides, all district and taluk hospitals have been directed to undertake a dry run of their oxygen infrastructure regularly, preferably once in 15 days.

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