Face masks will soon be a must in closed spaces and air-conditioned rooms in Karnataka, the state government said on Thursday, amid a nationwide alert over a new variant of the coronavirus that has triggered a spike in COVID-19 cases in China and a few other countries.
The state government has also said that COVID-19 tests will be mandatory for those with Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI).
The 2 per cent random testing of international passengers arriving in the state will continue until revised directions from the centre, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said. All samples from positive patients will be sent to the labs for genomic sequencing.
“We are going to issue an advisory to wear masks in indoor locations, closed spaces and air-conditioned rooms. Also, there will be mandatory testing of ILI and SARI cases across Karnataka,” Dr Sudhakar said, briefing reporters after a meeting led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on COVID-19.
The meeting was attended by ministers, health department officials and the members of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on COVID-19.
Dr Sudhakar said that it was also decided in the meeting to open dedicated Covid wards in all district hospitals with sufficient beds and a supply of Oxygen. He said that about 2,000-3,000 people were being tested for COVID-19 every day in the state.
The government will also work with private hospitals and super speciality hospitals for reserving beds to treat Covid patients in a setup last seen during the peak of COVID a year ago, he added.
Given the fresh outbreak of COVID-19 in countries like China, the state government had said it would review its preparedness and the measures to be taken.
The government decided to set up special camps across Karnataka to improve the booster dose coverage from the existing 20 to 60 per cent within a month. The state will coordinate with the centre for additional stock of booster doses.
To check its readiness, the government planned to hold drills in all government and private hospitals to test the condition of oxygen generators, supply networks and the functioning of oxygen cylinders.