Karnataka may revisit proposal to restrict unvaccinated people from public places amid Omicron detection
🔴The government had proposed restrictions last week for entry of unvaccinated workers to malls, cinema halls, government offices and other public places. The proposal was, however, not enshrined in official circulars.
The Karnataka government is likely to revisit a proposal to restrict entry to certain public places in the state to only those who have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccines. A decision to the tune will be taken after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s meeting with experts in the afternoon on his return from New Delhi.
The meeting to decide on the guidelines to restrict the spread of Omicron, the new strain of Covid-19, comes a day after the country’s first cases of the new variant were found in Bengaluru. Upon genome sequencing, the samples of a local doctor with no travel history and a South African national who has gone back showed traces of the Omicron variant.
Meanwhile, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar is also holding meetings with health experts. The government had proposed restrictions last week for entry of unvaccinated workers to malls, cinema halls, government offices and other public places. The proposal was, however, not enshrined in official circulars.
“Henceforth, those who work in government offices, malls, hotels, libraries, cinema halls and swimming pools must take two doses of the vaccine compulsorily or else they will not be permitted to work,” the state Revenue Minister R Ashok had said on November 27.
Ashok had also said that cultural programmes and seminars with large gatherings will also be restricted. The meeting was convened in the wake of an outbreak of Covid-19 among students of a school in Bengaluru city, a nursing college in rural Bengaluru, two colleges in Mysuru and a medical college in the Dharwad region of north Karnataka.
Later, on December 1, a panel of technical experts advising the Karnataka government on Covid-19 suggested curbs on access to public amenities to those who have not received both the doses of vaccines. The state government, however, decided against making vaccination compulsory to avail public services like transports and access to public places.
“We will not make vaccines mandatory and will not cut access to services for those who are not vaccinated. Rather, we will aim to intensify the campaign for vaccinations,” Bommai had said on December 1.
He has ruled out measures like lockdowns to restrict the spread of the virus.
Defending the decision to not enforce the strict restrictions, Sudhakar had said as many as 41 lakh people in Karnataka are yet to get their second dose of vaccines despite the expiry of the scheduled date for the dosage. In the same breath, however, he had also added that there has been an improvement in the number of people turning up for the second dose in the last few days.
A health official said, “The positivity rate in Karnataka is in the 0.6 per cent range at present and there is no cause for immediate concern following the emergence of the new variant in the state.”
Sudhakar added, “We have to ensure that pressure does not build up on the health infrastructure in the state like it did in the first and second waves.”
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