Karnataka reimposes curbs on educational institutions amid Covid spike

Updated on Nov 29, 2021 12:29 AM IST

The Basvaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government said that after the recent clusters of Covid-19 in Mysuru, Bengaluru and Dharwad, certain restrictions are being imposed.

The order came at a time when the Bommai government was relaxing restrictions in schools and other places after almost 18 months of Covid pandemic-induced lockdowns. (Agencies)
The order came at a time when the Bommai government was relaxing restrictions in schools and other places after almost 18 months of Covid pandemic-induced lockdowns. (Agencies)
BySharan Poovanna, Bengaluru

The Karnataka government on Sunday issued fresh directives for educational institutions, imposing restrictions on social, cultural and academic events after a rise in Covid-19 cases in some such establishments in the state.

The Basvaraj Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government said that after the recent clusters of Covid-19 in Mysuru, Bengaluru and Dharwad, certain restrictions are being imposed.

“All social and cultural events in educational institutions may be postponed for two months. Conferences, seminars, academic events, etc. in educational institutions, wherever possible, may be postponed. Alternatively, it could be conducted in hybrid mode i.e. with minimal physical attendance and with more persons attending through virtual mode,” according to the advisory issued by TK Anil Kumar, the additional chief secretary of the health and family welfare department, on Sunday.

The order came at a time when the Bommai government was relaxing restrictions in schools and other places after almost 18 months of pandemic-induced lockdowns.

The Bommai government had resumed physical classes for pre-primary students from November despite opposition from various quarters, including a significant section of parents and guardians, who are apprehensive about the impact of the move on the children who are not eligible for vaccination making them vulnerable to contract the coronavirus.

The government had also eased restrictions on many other fronts, allowing for organising of fairs.

In the wake of the new Covid-19 variant ‘omicron’ that has been detected in South Africa, the state government on Saturday made it mandatory for people arriving from affected countries to take the RT-PCR test upon landing in the city. Home quarantine has also been made mandatory for these passengers.

“Earlier international passengers were tested but asked to go home and quarantine themselves. Now test them there itself (airport) and allow them to leave after they test negative,” Bommai said on Sunday.

The Karnataka government on Saturday reintroduced restrictions including making it mandatory for people working in malls, cinemas and other public places to be allowed in only if they have been inoculated with both shots of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Bommai on Sunday said that these new strains were found in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, but there were no cases detected so far in Karnataka.

“We haven’t seen that strain in Karnataka but in places like Dharward, Mysuru and Bengaluru hostels, we have seen spurts of cases spreading rapidly making them clusters. We have to take precautions,” Bommai said.

He said these hostels have been declared as containment zones with restrictions imposed and directions issued to increase testing on the premises.

“Health care professionals may also conduct conferences, seminars, CME sessions, etc., virtually for a few more months to send a positive message to professionals in other fields, in the larger interest of public health,” according to Sunday’s advisory by the government.

The new restrictions have been imposed on the public even as electioneering for the December 10 MLC polls continues unchecked.

Bommai said that there are no big public meetings for the MLC elections and that only about 50-100 people were present. He said people attending these meetings should follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.

The new restrictions impending the possibility of a third wave of infections have made people apprehensive of more lockdowns that would affect their livelihoods and pile on the burden of financial hardships.

Bommai said measures were being taken to increase vaccination coverage. He said there were around 8 million Covid-19 vaccine doses available in the state and around 91% of the eligible population were administered at least one dose but conceded that this was reaching saturation levels. He said around 58% of the population had received both doses and the government will aggressively pursue measures to increase coverage to at least 70% by the end of the year.

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