Over coronavirus strain, Karnataka imposes night curfew till January 2
The government of Karnataka has imposed a night curfew from today (December 23) until January 2, in the wake of the new coronavirus strain which emerged in the United Kingdom last week. The restrictions will remain in place from 10 pm to 6 am every day. Before Karnataka, the worst-hit state Maharashtra also imposed a night curfew over similar concerns. Here's more.
Yediyurappa informed reporters about his government's decision
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa of the Bharatiya Janata Party informed media persons about the new rule. "In view of the new strain of coronavirus, it has been decided to impose (a) night curfew from today to January 2 between 10 PM to 6 AM. I request everyone to cooperate," he said. However, just yesterday, he had told reporters "there's no need for night curfew."
Inter-state travel will continue, schools will reopen on January 1
Separately, Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar explained that these curbs are being imposed to contain the new variant. Reports suggested that this variant is 70% more transmissible. Sudhakar added that inter-state travel will continue as earlier and schools will reopen for Class 10 and 12 students from January 1. "We are also monitoring international passengers arriving in the state," he added.
No celebrations allowed after 10 pm: Health Minister
When asked if Christmas celebrations will be allowed on Friday, he replied, "Between December 23 and January 2, no event or festive celebration is allowed to take place after 10 pm. It applies to every kind of event." Naturally, New Year festivities will also be affected.
International travelers will have to get themselves tested
Further, to fight against the mutant virus, the Yediyurappa government has also made it mandatory for all international passengers to get themselves tested for coronavirus. All those coming from a foreign nation to Karnataka must carry a negative coronavirus test report, not older than 72 hours. Yediyurappa said arrangements have been made at airports to ensure no one enters without getting tested.
Government tweaked SOPs for UK travelers yesterday
Yesterday, the Union Health Ministry released SOPs for those traveling from the UK. Passengers reaching India between December 21-23 will be subjected to RT-PCR tests. If they test positive, a spike gene-based RT-PCR test will be conducted. If the genome sequencing indicates the presence of the new variant, the passenger will be isolated until two consecutive samples taken 24 hours apart are tested negative.
Those who traveled from/transited through UK also being observed
Moreover, passengers who traveled from or transited through the UK in the past four weeks (November 25-December 23) are required to declare their travel history for the past 14 days and submit a Self Declaration Form to be screened for COVID-19. All contacts of those who test positive will be subjected to institutional quarantine. States have been directed to prepare a list of international returnees.