Karnataka Says Masks Mandatory, New Year Celebrations Can Go On Till 1 AM


Vulnerable people like pregnant women, children, elderly citizens must avoid public gatherings, it said.

Bengaluru:

The Karnataka government today issued fresh guidelines for new year celebrations amid rising covid cases, driven by a new variant BF.7, in some parts of the world. Wearing masks has been made compulsory inside closed spaces like restaurants, pubs, theatre halls, schools, and colleges in Karnataka. New Year celebrations can go on till 1 am in the state.

“There’s no need to panic. But we have to take precautions from now on,” Health Minister of Karnataka K Sudhakar said.

Pregnant women, children, elderly citizens and people with health issues must avoid public gatherings, the government said, adding that in closed door events, the number of people allowed inside shouldn’t be more than the number of seats available.

Use of sanitisers, wearing face masks, and being fully vaccinated will be mandatory in schools.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has today categorically said preventive and precautionary measures to check the spread of the Covid pandemic will be implemented in a phased manner without affecting the economy of the common people.

Talking to reporters at Suvarna Soudha here on Monday, he said the state cabinet discussed the Covid pandemic and decided to further consult the Technical Advisory Committee members to create awareness among the people, ramp up vaccination, tests for influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) cases, mandatory masking inside and in public, and implement other preventive steps in a phased manner.

Asked about issuing separate guidelines for New Year celebrations, the Chief Minister said that like the last couple of years, there will be certain rules this year as well. With the rise in Covid cases, some more points will be added to the existing guidelines. However, precautionary measures will be implemented in stages without affecting the daily activities of citizens and the economy.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will also hold a virtual meeting with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) at 4 pm today on Covid preparedness, situation, and awareness.

Mr Bommai further said the government wants the ongoing Belagavi session of the state Assembly to be fruitful and meaningful. “Issues pertaining to the North Karnataka region must be discussed for a long time. The Opposition parties are going to discuss many issues, and the government is ready to debate or discuss anything,” he said.

The Chief Minister said he is leaving for New Delhi this evening as discussion on several issues with the central leadership has been incomplete. 

“So, the BJP National President JP Nadda has called a meeting again, which Union Home Minister Amit Shah and several party leaders will attend. All issues, including preparation for the coming Assembly polls, cabinet expansion, and filling up of vacant minister’s posts, will come up for discussion,” he said, adding that after the meeting, he would return to Belagavi and attend the Legislature session tomorrow.

BS Bommnai said he will also meet union ministers regarding development projects of the state.



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