Bengaluru: The Karnataka government on Wednesday said night curfew will be imposed between 11 pm to 5 am from December 24 till January 1 across the state as a precautionary measure in line with the Centre's advice, amid concerns over a new COVID-19 variant spreading in the UK.
Earlier in the day following a meeting with Health Minister K Sudhakar, members of the state Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for COVID-19 and senior officials, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had announced that the night curfew will be imposed from tonight till January 2 between 10 pm and 6 am. Confirming the changes in night curfew dates and timing, Yediyurappa in a tweet said, it will now be from December 24 till January 1, 2021, between 11 pm to 5 am (January 2, 5am).
"Midnight mass on December 24 on account of Christmas can be held without any obstruction," he said in another tweet.
According to the government order imposing the night curfew, while movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 11 pm to 5 am, except for essential activities, there shall be no restriction in movement of all types of goods through trucks, goods vehicles or any goods carriers, including empty vehicles.
It said all industries/companies/organisations which require operations at night shall be permitted to operate with 50 per cent staff, and movement of employees of such organisations shall be allowed on producing valid ID cards issued by their respective organisation/institution.
Further stating that industries/factories which require 24/7 operations will be allowed to operate without any restrictions, the order issued by Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar said movement of long distance night bus, train services and air services are permitted.
To and fro movement of taxis and auto are permitted for dropping or pickup of people to or from bus stops, railway stations and Airports. It will be allowed on displaying valid tickets.
Also, midnight Christmas Mass on December 24 night shall be permitted as per norms issued earlier, the order said, clarifying that celebration of Christmas and New Year festivities shall be as per guidelines issued on December 17.
In the guidelines issued on December 17, the government had said, organisers and supervisors at Churches must ensure that a large number of people don't gather at a time and social distancing maintained.
Also people should not indulge in handshakes or hugging during the festivities. It had also prohibited parties, special DJ dance programmes and special events at clubs, pubs, restaurants and other places that attract people in large numbers without social distancing from December 30 to January 2.
Yediyurappa had earlier said it was decided to impose night curfew in view of the new COVID-19 strain and as per the advice of the Government of India and Technical Advisory Committee.
"It will be applicable for the entire state.I request all public to cooperate to prevent and contain the new COVID-19 strain," he told reporters after meeting with Health Ministers and senior officials .
Neighbouring Maharashtra on Monday had declared a night curfew in municipal corporation areas as a precautionary step amid growing concerns over a new coronavirus variant spreading in Britain.
Yediyurappa said all those travelling to the state and arriving at Bengaluru or Mangaluru airports from foreign countries must have an RT-PCR COVID-19 negative certificate which should have been obtained 72 hours before their departure time.
All arrangements have been made at the airport to conduct tests and health staff have been deployed there to ensure no one enters the city without getting tested, he said.
"Regarding schools and colleges we have discussed and informed that it will open from January 1 for class 10 and second year PUC (class 12), also Vidyagama (class 6-9) students," he said, adding "within two days we will see if there are any developments and come back.
As of now it will start from January 1." Earlier in the day, Health Minister Sudhakar had held discussions with the TAC members consisting of senior health experts in the state.
Speaking to reporters, he said the decision to impose night curfew has been arrived at keeping in mind the public health. Stating that all those who have arrived in the state from the UK since November 25, will be mandatorily monitored for 28 days, the Minister said they have to quarantine themselves.
"Those who have completed 14 days have to self monitor till the 28th day, while those who have come in the last 14 days- our government, our department staff using technology will monitor them.Those with symptoms will be made to undergo RT-PCR test," he added.
A total of 2,500 people have come to the state since November 25 to December 22 in two flights-Air India and British Airways.
The government has information on how many passengers have travelled each day, Sudhakar said, as he hit out at a senior Congress leader, without naming him, for claiming that 14,000 people have arrived. "Our government has nothing to achieve by suppressing accurate information regarding the number of infected or deaths or passengers.Why should we do it and for what. So I request leaders to gather accurate information before making such public statements," he said.
About reports that a couple of people who have come from the UK have tested positive, the Minister said information is still awaited as tests are being done.
"If they are positive, then we will have to send it to genetic sequencing at NIMHANS, which is one among the four labs that is capable of doing gene sequencing and based on the studies we will have to take further precautionary measures on how to contain or prevent the new variant in Karnataka," he said....