Karnataka announces relaxed COVID guidelines for Christmas and New Year celebrations
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of Karnataka has announced a set of COVID-19 guidelines that offer a sense of relief and normalcy for residents looking forward to celebrating Christmas and the New Year. In a meeting with the COVID technical advisory committee, the Chief Minister outlined measures aimed at balancing public health concerns with the need for joyous celebrations. The key takeaway from the announcement is that there will be no specific COVID restrictions imposed for Christmas and New Year festivities.
However, the Siddaramaiah emphasised the importance of continued vigilance and adherence to safety protocols, especially for those over 60 years of age. He highlighted the importance of striking a balance between freedom and caution by making mask-wearing compulsory for individuals aged 60 and above, while not extending the mandate to the general population. This targeted approach aims to protect the more vulnerable age group while allowing others the flexibility to enjoy the holiday season without unnecessary restrictions.
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Siddaramaiah assured the public that the state is well-prepared to handle any potential surge in COVID cases. He emphasised that all necessary arrangements, including oxygen supply, beds, ventilators, and medicines, have been put in place across dedicated COVID hospitals in various districts. The Chief Minister also urged citizens to proactively get vaccinated, emphasising preparedness ahead of any potential challenges. Addressing concerns about the Omicron variant, Siddaramaiah clarified that the current subspecies JN.1 is not considered highly dangerous.
While acknowledging the presence of 92 cases in the state, with the majority in Bengaluru, the Chief Minister reassured the public that only a small fraction required hospitalization. He urged media outlets to avoid creating unnecessary panic and underscored the importance of responsible reporting. The Chief Minister also announced the formation of a cabinet sub-committee that will enhance infection control measures through continuous collaboration with the advisory committee and regular monitoring of the situation. The government will ramp up testing in border districts to ensure a comprehensive approach to monitoring and managing the spread of the virus.