In light of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Karnataka government led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai urged the public to take the second dose of the vaccine and follow COVID-19 protocols. This comes as the CM had convened an emergency meeting at 4 pm on Saturday, November 27, with senior Health Department officials and experts in view of the emerging situation.
Meanwhile, two South African nationals have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Saturday, November 27. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing. So far Karnataka has not recorded any cases of the new variant. Bangalore Rural Deputy Commissioner said both the individuals are in separate quarantine centres and will be there till they test negative. He said that as many as 584 people, so far, have arrived here from 10 ‘high-risk’ nations, and as many as 94 individuals have come from South Africa alone so far.
Health Minister Dr Sudhakar said, “We had a meeting on preventive measures yesterday and released guidelines. People coming from the affected countries will take the RT-PCR once they land in Bengaluru. If found positive, they will stay in and around the airport for treatment. Home quarantine will be mandatory after their arrival. We have deployed Health Department officials at the airport to monitor the situation.”
He further added that nearly 45 lakh people in the state are yet to take the second dose of the vaccine. He said," I request the 45 lakh people who are yet to take the second dose to get it on priority.”
According to government estimates, Karnataka has vaccinated 90% of the population with the first dose; this stands at 80% on average in the country. The state has fully vaccinated 57% of the eligible population, while 42% have received both jabs in India.
Earlier in the day, CM Bommai had appealed to the public to join hands with the Health Department in taking precautions to avoid the spread of the virus. As the WHO declared the new variant as a cause for concern, the state government following the advice of the Union government, and a state-level advisory committee has asked for additional safety measures to be placed on travellers from South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Botswana.