Amid surging COVID-19 cases, Karnataka on Friday barred large gatherings at weddings and public functions across the state, and has curtailed the number of people from the earlier restrictions. This comes as more clusters are emerging in cities and towns across the state, especially in Bengaluru.
"Gathering of people will be restricted to 200 from 500 earlier in halls or closed places for social and cultural events like weddings," state health secretary Jawaid Akhtar said in a circular. He added in the circular that upto 50 people will be allowed at birthday parties in a closed space and 100 people will be allowed if being held in open spaces with social distancing and wearing masks. Same goes for the death ceremonies like cremations or burials.
For religious and political gatherings being held in open spaces, around 500 people will be permitted and 100 for other congregations if the venue is spacious to maintain physical distancing and other protocols.
The state health department has also increased testing targets for districts bordering Kerala and Maharashtra where the cases have been rising. The test targets for a few districts have been set aimed at controlling the spread of virus — Belagavi at 4,000 tests per day, Bengaluru and BBMP together 40,000 per day, Dakshina Kannada 3,000 a day, Mysuru 5,000 tests per day, among others.
The state government had on Wednesday banned all late-night parties at star hotels and restaurants in the state, including in Bengaluru, to curb the surge in infections.
With 833 new cases reported on Thursday, the state's Covid tally shot up to 9,58,417, including 8,114 active cases, while recoveries rose to 9,37,898. As the epicentre of the pandemic in the southern state, Bengaluru registered 526 fresh cases on Thursday, taking its tally to 4,10,181 while recoveries rose to 3,99,656, with 341 persons getting discharged during the day.
Meanwhile, the officials on Friday identified a new cluster at government medical and engineering hostel near Vidyapeeta in south Bengaluru. The first case was detected on Monday, and 158 students underwent RT-PCR testing. A total of 7 cases came back positive and the hostel was declared as a cluster.