No lockdown in Karnataka, Health Minister Sudhakar clarifies

The Karnataka Health Minister has debunked speculation that there may be a lockdown enforced in the state over concerns of the new coronavirus variant.
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar
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The Karnataka government has ruled out any proposals for imposing a lockdown in the state, Health Minister K Sudhakar said on Monday, November 29. The minister clarified on speculation that there may be a fresh lockdown in Karnataka amid concerns of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron. The Health Minister said that there is no proposal made to the government to impose a lockdown and that people should not spread rumours.

The minister said that contact tracing is underway for all travellers coming from South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first detected, and the travellers are being surveyed and contacts are also being tracked.

“There is no such proposal to impose a lockdown. Fake news is being spread on social media. There will be a meeting held with the Technical Advisory Committee, doctors and future guidelines on COVID-19 precautions will be discussed. We should not do anything that creates tension, false information should not be spread on social media. Many have already suffered during the pandemic and now panic should not be spread. People should follow precautions and follow appropriate COVID-19 norms to protect themselves from the virus,” Health Minister Sudhakar said.

On Monday, the Karnataka government issued new guidelines for international travellers coming into the state. As per the circular released by the Department of Health, travellers coming from 12 at-risk countries will have to undergo RT-PCR tests on arrival. Home isolation is being made mandatory for seven days, and the travellers will also have to undergo re-testing on the eighth day.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday stated that international passengers can step out from airports only with a negative COVID-19 test report. The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines will be followed in connection with the new coronavirus variant Omicron, which was recently discovered in South Africa. The Prime Minister and Union Health Minister have also recommended precautionary measures to be followed.

According to the guidelines, international travellers, if tested positive, the sample will be sent for genomic sequencing and they will be admitted to a separate isolation facility. They will be discharged at the discretion of the treating physician if the genomic sequencing is negative for B.1.1.529, the Omicron variant.

For travellers coming from countries excluding those enlisted as at-risk countries, a random sample of 5% of travellers with negative results will undergo RT-PCR testing on arrival. If tested positive, their samples will be sent for genomic sequencing.

Countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival include all countries in Europe including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

(With inputs from IANS)

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