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Fully lockdown unlikely in Karnataka

Amid rumours of a full lockdown in Karnataka, Dr C.N. Manjunath, a member of Karnataka’s task force, said it is unlikely. “The daily caseload is around 700-800 per day. It’s too early to impose a lockdown. I don’t think a full lockdown is needed now,’’ he said, but admitted that cases are likely to increase in the coming weeks. 

“Omicron causes mild infection. However, the number of people getting infected is increasing drastically. It could choke the healthcare system,’’ he said.

Karnataka reported 23 new cases of Omicron on Friday, taking the tally to 66. Of the 23 new cases, 19 were international travellers.

Five of the new cases were children. One of them was a two-year-old boy who was not vaccinated. He travelled from Tanzania to Bengaluru on December 12 along with his parents. The others who tested positive for Omicron include a 10-year-old girl who flew from South Africa to Bengaluru, a 25-year-old man who is isolated in Bihar, a 33- year-old from Denmark, a 25-year-old woman who flew from the US to Bengaluru, a 47-year-old who flew from Nigeria to Bengaluru and a 15-year-old boy who flew from the US to Bengaluru.

Incidentally, the first two cases of Omicron in India were reported in Karnataka.  

Manjunath said the central government has to take a call on whether international flights should be allowed. “In Europe and America, Omicron is the dominant variant. By January end or February, the same scenario might emerge in Karnataka, too,’’ he said. Currently a mix of both Delta and Omicron variants is reported in the state.

When the lockdown was imposed last year, commercial activities suffered a lot, said Manjunath. “Ultimately it boils down to the strict enforcement of guidelines. Measures like restricting gatherings, masking, putting cap on the number of guests at marriage etc are important.’’

Karnataka has imposed a night curfew from December 28. The state’s testing capacity has been increased significantly. “Now we conduct 1 lakh tests a day. More number of tests are being done in microcontainment areas. Measures are being taken to increase the state’s Genomic Sequencing capacity as well ,’’ he said.


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