Home CITY UPDATES Is Karnataka staring at Covid Chapter 2?

Is Karnataka staring at Covid Chapter 2?

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New circular hikes Bengaluru daily tests to 40,000, caps closed-space gatherings at 200

Jawaid Akhtar (ACS-Health) says guidelines were relaxed earlier, but will now be strictly implemented

BENGALURU:

With Karnataka once again recording a spike in new Covid-positive cases, the Health Department has hiked testing targets in districts with a high positivity rate and has also reissued protocols which restrict closed-space gatherings to 200.

Friday’s circular listing the revised guidelines follows the recommendations of the state’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that met on Thursday to discuss measures in anticipation of a possible second coronavirus wave in Karnataka.

Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Jawaid Akhtar said Friday’s guidelines were pre-existing ones that had been relaxed when cases were falling in the last few months. Akhtar reportedly said the old guidelines had been reissued with some modifications for stricter enforcement, and would soon be notified under the state’s Disaster Management Act.

Testing targets

According to Friday’s circular, the daily testing target, with emphasis on RT-PCR tests, has been fixed at 40,000 in Bengaluru Urban, 5,000 in Mysuru, 3,500 in Tumkuru, 3,000 each in Belagavi and Dakshina Kannada, 2,000 each in Vijayapura and Udupi, and 1,000 in Kodagu. Meanwhile, other districts are enjoined to continue with their pre-fixed testing targets.

As per the circular, contact tracing should be prioritised in Dakshina Kannada, Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Kalaburgi and Udupi, and the aim should be to trace all primary contacts as well as at least 20 secondary contacts of every positive case. In addition, stricter surveillance by officials has been enjoined at the state’s borders with Kerala and Maharashtra, which are seeing a resurgence in infections.

While emphasizing the scaling up of vaccination, especially for vulnerable groups, the new circular has put a cap on open-space gatherings of any kind at 500 and on closed-space functions at 200. For private functions like birthday parties or death ceremonies, the number of congregants has been capped at 100 in open spaces and 50 in closed spaces.

The Health Department circular continues to emphasis wearing of masks and observing the 3-feet social distancing norm.

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