People must wear masks while celebrating New Year: Karnataka Health Minister

Belagavi: In view of rising COVID-19 cases in some countries, the Karnataka government on Monday said masks will be compulsory during the New Year celebrations.

Celebrations on New Year's Day should last only till 1 am, Health Minister K Sudhakar said.

On the vaccination front, the minister said the government has insisted that people should take the booster dose. He appealed to senior citizens, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children to avoid crowded places.

"Masks will be compulsory at closed places, and air conditioned rooms, and crowded places in outdoor celebrations. There should not be more people than the permitted capacity in places where the celebrations take place," Sudhakar said.

He was speaking to reporters after attending a meeting chaired by Revenue Minister R Ashoka, who is the vice-chairperson of the State Disaster Management Committee.

According to Sudhakar, two per cent random testing of international passengers will continue at the Bengaluru and Mangaluru international airports.

Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru and Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru have been designated as two quarantine centres for international passengers who test positive for COVID-19, he added.

The samples of a passenger, who returned to the state from China, has been sent for genome sequencing to a lab, the minister said.

Regarding JD(S)' 'Pancharatna Yatra' led by its party leader H D Kumaraswamy, the minister stated that the foot march can continue but reiterated that participants should adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour to safeguard themselves.

The minister said the Deputy Commissioners, Chief Executive Officers of district panchayats, District Health Officers, District Surveillance Officers and the experts' committee members will oversee COVID management in all the districts in the state.

According to Sudhakar, the health infrastructure and staff have been increased substantially including ICU beds, oxygen beds, oxygen capacity and medical and paramedical staff ever since COVID-19 broke out more than two years ago, which will be sufficient to tackle any situation.


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