COVID 4th Wave: State Govt. Re-Introduces Mask Mandate, Social Distancing
Bengaluru: Amid fresh COVID-19 concerns in different parts of the country and apprehensions about a possible fourth wave of the pandemic, the Karnataka Government on Monday decided to issue guidelines making wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing compulsory. This decision was taken at a meeting headed by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with senior Ministers, officials and the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee consisting of experts, to review the situation in the State.
It may be recalled, Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in the State since Feb. 28, 2022 and the activities were opened to public, in view of the daily low incidence of cases.
Currently, following an upsurge of cases in Delhi, Haryana and Tamil Nadu and a slight increase in daily incidence of covid cases in Karnataka too, Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar, has issued an order dated 25.4.2022, stating that Karnataka has re-introduced the mask mandate as per the recommendations of State Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee.
The wearing of face covering / mask by public is compulsory in all public places, in work places and during transport.
Similarly, spitting in public places will be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations by the local authorities.
Further, individuals must maintain social distancing, a minimum distance of 2 feet, in public places.
Speaking to reporters after taking part in the meeting, Health Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar said the number of positive cases have slightly increased in Bengaluru, where the positivity rate is 1.9 percent, and the situation will be monitored and supervised with guidelines about the treatment if required.
“Masks should be worn compulsorily, especially at places where there is a crowd and in indoor places, social distancing has to be maintained. We have not taken any decision regarding imposing any penalty immediately,” he said.
“On Apr.27, the Prime Minister will be holding a video-conference with Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of all States, where more guidance and information may be shared. After that, we will hold another round of meeting and further measures, if required, will be taken,” he added.
Pointing out that according to the World Health Organisation, health issues like hospitalisation and ICU care are required more among unvaccinated people, the Minister said the number of people who have taken preventive dose (third dose) is low, and more people will have to get the booster jabs. “People above 60 years are being given the preventive dose for free. Don’t wait for the next wave to happen, take the preventive dose and protect yourselves,” he advised.