BELAGAVI: In view of the increase in coronavirus cases in several countries amid arrival of the new variant, the Karnataka government has decided to conduct mandatory Covid test of those with influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), state Health Minister K. Sudhakar said.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting on Covid management, Minister Sudhakar said, "In view of the increase in Covid cases in several countries including China, a high-level meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with technical advisory committee and senior officials to discuss about prevention and mitigation of infection in the state."
"2,000-3,000 people are already being tested for Covid every day. Additionally, it has been decided that mandatory Covid test will be conducted for those with ILI and SARI in the state," he added.
Sudhakar also said that an advisory will be issued making masks mandatory in indoor, closed and air-conditioned places.
The Union government's guidelines will be followed for random testing and screening passengers arriving from abroad at international airports. Some people are already being tested at the airport, the minister asserted.
"Oxygen plants have been installed at many hospitals. We will see to it that they are functioning properly... We have decided to reserve some beds in district hospitals for Covid," he said, adding that private hospitals will also be instructed to reserve beds.
A meeting is being held at the Union government level, and new guidelines will be released in the state based on the Centre's guidelines, he said.
As the number of Covid cases decreased, people became complacent in getting the third dose of the vaccine. Due to this only 20 per cent progress has been made in 3rd dose vaccination, Sudhakar noted.
"We will organize special vaccination camps across the state to achieve 100 per cent coverage even in the third dose. We have also given instructions to ensure sufficient stock of vaccines for these special vaccination camps," he said.
"People should get the third dose as soon as possible and not be complacent. It also came up in the House whether there are any side effects if the third dose is taken. No one should listen to such apprehensions. There is no scientific evidence that the vaccine poses any risk. We can protect ourselves from Covid by getting vaccinated," the minister asserted.