Karnataka govt. makes wearing of face masks mandatory for people above 60 & those with comorbidities

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Madikeri (K’taka), Dec 18 (PTI) The Karnataka government on Monday asked those above 60-years of age, with comorbidities, and symptoms of cough, phlegm and fever to mandatorily wear face masks, in the wake detection of a case of COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 in neighbouring Kerala. Increased tests among those with such symptoms and suspected cases, and heightened surveillance in border districts are among the measures that the officials have been instructed to take up, Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters here.

The situation is being continuously monitored, and there is no need for any restriction on movement and gathering of people as of now, he said, adding, the Government would come out with an advisory.

“There is no need for anyone to worry. We had held a meeting day-before-yesterday and our technical advisory committee headed by Dr (K) Ravi had met yesterday and there was discussion between our officials and experts regarding the measures to be taken,” Rao said.

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“Those above 60-years of age and those with comorbidities like issues related to heart, kidney among others, and those with cough, phlegm and fever should mandatorily wear masks. We are communicating this to the public. Also we have asked our hospitals and health centres to be prepared. There should be more surveillance in border districts like — Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Chamarajanagara — which share border with Kerala,” he added.

The government would, based on the situation, decide what further measures need to be taken, he said. Along with stepping up surveillance at the border, instructions have been issued to increase testing and those with symptoms and suspicious cases are being asked to compulsorily undergo testing.

“In a couple of days we will get to know if the infections are increasing or not. As we increase COVID tests, if more positive cases are recorded, we will decide on further measures that need to be taken. There is no need for imposing any curbs or restrictions now itself,” Rao said.

On whether there will be any restriction on Ayyappa pilgrims returning from Kerala, Rao said, as of now there are no curbs on restriction on movement of people and gathering.

“We will not stop any such thing now, because such a situation — where people should not move or gather — is not there,” he said.

“We will monitor the situation daily, in case we get any adverse information, we will say what needs to be done. For those above 60 years of age, those with comorbidities and respiratory issues, wearing masks is good. We will make it mandatory. Advisory will be issued by the government today.” Noting that a mock drill has been conducted at all hospitals by district health officials to check their preparedness, the Minister said, checks have been conducted on the number of beds, ventilators, oxygen supply, masks, testing and PPE kits among other things that are required in case of emergency.

“Instructions have been given to make necessary preparations at all health centres and taluk and district hospitals,” Rao added. PTI KSU RS RS

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.