Karnataka under partial lockdown; all international flyers in state to be isolated


The Karnataka government stepped on the gas to contain Covid-19 cases by extending the partial lockdown in the state and deciding to isolate all international passengers on arrival. The lockdown will now be in place till March 31. Schools, colleges, shopping malls, cinema halls, pubs and nightclubs, among others, will continue to remain closed during this period.

All international flyers arriving in the state will be isolated in government-identified hospitals, resorts and hotels close to the airport. Medical education minister Dr K Sudhakar said the logistics for the same are being worked out.

The government also announced a Rs 200-crore fund to deal with the virus outbreak amid reports of three new cases on Wednesday. The decision to set aside a separate fund was taken at an emergency meeting of the Cabinet.

“This is the first instalment, and probably we are the first state to do so,” the minister said in the Assembly. The government is also planning to request the Centre to prevent arrival of international flights at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. “The issue was discussed in the cabinet meeting too. The state is pitching for it, but the Centre has to take a call,” he said.

THREE NEW CASES

The three new confirmed cases on Wednesday have taken the total tally in Karnataka to 14. All the fresh cases have recent travel history to the virusaffected countries. While two patients had returned from the US (separately), one had travelled to Spain. Health department officials are contacttracing the confirmed cases.

CHALLENGE OF HOME ISOLATION

Health officials said while they are making all-out efforts to convince people with a travel history to strictly stay at home for two weeks, ensuring that they actually do it has become increasingly challenging. “We cannot keep an eye on people 24×7. It is also their moral responsibility to self-isolate themselves and prevent the possibility of spreading the disease to others,” a senior health official said.

For instance, a 20-year-old girl who returned from the UK visited Victoria Hospital in the city without following the required protocol. She later tested positive, caused worry in the hospital premises. The girl had accompanied her relative, a student at the hospital, to the nephro-urology department and had spent some time there. Some doctors and staff she had met during her visit have now been quarantined as they are her primary contacts.

Minister Sudhakar hinted that the government was using technology to track the movement of home-isolated people. “Starting today, we will know if the people who have been asked to home isolate actually stay at home or move outside,” he said. He, however, did not elaborate on the technology used, saying it would destroy the purpose.





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