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Amid Covid Fear, Karnataka Mandates Use Of Masks

| Updated: December 19, 2023 12:26

The Karnataka government has made wearing of masks mandatory for senior citizens as well as those with comorbidities.

The move comes as a precautionary measure in the wake of rising number of Covid-19 cases in neigbouring Kerala and detection of a sub-variant of the virus.

The Karnataka government has also asked individuals with symptoms of fever, cold, and cough to wear masks compulsorily.

State health minister Dinesh Gundurao said this was done as a part of Karnataka’s efforts to protect those most vulnerable to the virus.

Regarding likely restrictions on Sabarimala pilgrims returning from Kerala, the minister clarified that no curbs on movements or gatherings were currently in place. However, he said monitoring in the districts bordering Kerala, including Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, and Dakshina Kannada, would continue.

“Tourists and devotees, especially those travelling to Sabarimala from the state, have been cautioned,” he added.

The minister said an official order mandating wearing of face masks, along with other guidelines, would be issued after a meeting with the technical advisory committee on Covid.
The committee, led by Dr K Ravi, head of the department of medicine at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, is set to issue further guidelines on safeguards.

In the last three months, Gundurao said, Karnataka reported 58 active Covid-19 cases, with 11 individuals hospitalised and one Covid related death. While emphasising that there was no need for any immediate concern, he added, “We’ve had one death due to Covid-19, but the person also had comorbidities.”

He emphasised the importance of preparedness and the need to learn from past experiences.

The health department has ordered 3 lakh medical kits, PPE kits, and an increased number of rapid antigen tests (RAT), particularly in the regions bordering Kerala and the state capital of Bengaluru.

Mock drills are currently underway at all government hospitals to assess the preparedness of the medical infrastructure to handle potential emergencies. The drills encompass bed availability, staff readiness, oxygen plant functionality, and essential medicine supplies.

The minister, ruling out imposition of any movement restrictions at this stage, emphasised the need for stringent monitoring.

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