Following recommendations from the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), Karnataka is likely to stop giving permission to hold mass protests involving over 500 people.
Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar told presspersons on Saturday that he would speak to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa in this regard. “The TAC has warned that the next two months are crucial for the State, especially as the neighbouring Maharashtra and Kerala are witnessing a spike in cases. Along with strict enforcement of measures on the borders, restrictions on large gatherings, including protests/agitations, social, religious, and political gatherings, and weddings, will be tightened,” he said.
Asked if this meant that the government would stop giving permission for protests, the Minister said, “Yes, I will speak to the Chief Minister in this regard. The TAC has recommended that not more than 500 people should be allowed at large gatherings. I appeal to people, all religious heads, and political leaders and parties to follow these guidelines strictly and stop coming to Bengaluru for protests for at least the next two months.”
Starting from Monday, vaccination will be provided at over 3,000 centres, including primary health centres, taluk hospitals, and district hospitals. Urging people to come forward in large numbers to take the vaccine, he said the target was to vaccinate 1.5 lakh people each day. “We hope to vaccinate all the people of the State in the next two months,” he said.
Surge in Bengaluru
Dr. Sudhakar, who pointed out that the number of new cases in Bengaluru was on the rise, said, “The city had been reporting 200 to 250 cases a day for several weeks. This suddenly increased to 444 on Friday. Moreover, 12 clusters have been identified in BBMP limits, and this is a concern.”
He added that he has directed the BBMP Commissioner to increase the number of daily tests from 30,000 to 40,000.
“Contact tracing will also be intensified. The Central team that recently visited the State has recommended that at least 20 primary and secondary contacts should be traced for each positive case. All these 20 contacts should be tested,” the Minister said.
He said the Chief Minister would hold a videoconference meeting with Deputy Commissioners of districts where the test positivity rate is high. “As there are more inter-State travellers to Mangaluru, testing will be ramped up there. Instructions have been issued to Bengaluru Urban, Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Udupi, Kodagu, Belagavi, and Tumakuru to be more vigilant,” he added.