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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.


Omicron Lockdown: New restrictions for 10 days in Gurugram, 4 Haryana districts

All sports complexes, swimming pools will remain closed. Offices for these 10 days will function with 50% staff attendance while malls and markets are allowed to open till 5pm. Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate with 50% seating capacity, the government order said.

The Haryana government on Saturday announced several restrictions in five districts including Gurugram, Faridabad, Ambala, Panchkula and Sonipat which will come into effect from tomorrow 5am. The restrictions will be in place till 5am, January 12. All cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes in these five districts will remain closed for these 10 days. Sports complexes, swimming pools will also remain closed. Offices in these five districts will function with 50% sraff attendance while malls and markets are allowed to open till 5pm. Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate with 50% seating capacity, the government order said.

Only fully vaccinated persons are allowed to enter public places like sabzi mandi, grain markets, public transport, parks, religious places, bars, restaurants, hotels, departmental stores, ration shops, liquor and wine shops.

In other districts of the state, cinema halls, restaurants, bars, gyms, spas and clubhouses are allowed to open with 50% seating capacity with adherence to requisite social distancing. Schools, colleges, polytechnics, ITIs will remain closed. No mask, no service will strictly be observed in the state.

The restrictions come a day after Haryana reported the biggest single-day jump of 26 cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus pushing the tally to 63. Officials said that majority of the Omicron cases were being reported from districts under the NCR and hence the restrictions are applicable to only these five districts.

Omicron has cast a shadow of apprehension as the infection is spreading faster than the previous variants. Delhi has imposed a mini lockdown shutting schools and limiting the number of people in public transport, bars and restaurants.