Karnataka government mandates RT-PCR test and quarantine for int’l passengers
Karnataka health minister KS Sudhakar on Tuesday said that the government has made it mandatory for all international passengers to undergo an RT-PCR test. “Around 2,500 international passengers arrive in Karnataka daily and it is now mandatory for everyone to undergo RT-PCR testing,” he said after meeting the Covid-19 technical advisory committee (TAC).
Even those passengers who test negative will have to undergo home quarantine, Sudhakar told reporters. “For those who are negative will be home quarantined for seven days. Those who are symptomatic and negative will have to undergo testing at home on the 5th day. Asymptomatic will be tested on the 7th day. If positive, they will be immediately hospitalised. And they will be treated separately,” the minister said.
A senior health department official said that checking of all international passengers is underway since last week.
Covid’s new variant, the Omicron virus, has been found in 12 countries across the world and to prevent this variant, all necessary precautionary measures are being taken in the state, the minister said, answering a specific questions on the variant. “Considering our population and health infrastructure, we need to be more careful than other countries. Preparations for the health care services, including availability of beds, oxygen beds, deployment of doctors and personnel, and supply of medicine, were also discussed at the meeting,” he said.
Those who haven’t got vaccination should voluntarily come forward and get vaccinated and stay safe, he said, adding suggestions regarding vaccine drive and measures to increase the numbers were discussed. “41 lakh people are slated to get the second dose of Covid vaccine. Priority will be given to reach out to these people,” Sudhakar said.
At the meeting, ways to effectively deal with the Omicron virus, how to control it, and what preparations are to be taken in hospitals and medical colleges were also discussed. “Using technology such as Quarantine App, tele medicine is also being considered. In addition, a panel of 10 experts has been set up to formulate separate guidelines for treatment,” the minister told reporters.
Meanwhile, reassuring the people that there is no proposal to impose lockdown in the state, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has appealed to people not to heed to rumours in this regard.
“There is no question of imposing the lockdown now. Normal life should go on. However, we want the people to strictly follow the Covid norms in public places. Institutions too need to function responsibly by adhering to the norms at programmes conducted by them,” the chief minister told reporters.
He said the state government is keeping strict vigil against Omicron. Precautions against the Delta variant are also being tightened. “Government is tackling the issue on two fronts. Test swab samples in suspicious cases had been sent to NCBS for genome sequencing to ascertain the exact variant. International passengers are being strictly screened at airports. Those who were in contact with them are also being traced and tested,” he added.
The state government has issued the guidelines for setting up clusters where a spurt in the cases had been reported. Those in the clusters are being tested again seven days after they get a positive report of the first test. About 4,000 people have been tested at SDM college in Dharwad. Similar tests are on at clusters in Mysuru, Hassan and Anekal in Bengaluru, Bommai said.