- Karnataka second state to impose night curfew after Maharashtra
- Night curfew amid concerns over new strain of coronavirus
- All passengers from UK must take RT-PCR tests in Karnataka
Amid global fears over the new mutant strain of coronavirus, a night curfew has been announced in Karnataka - between 10 PM to 6 AM - till January 2. Karnataka has become the second state after Maharashtra to announce new restrictions this week as concern grows over the new strain, which is believed to be 70 per cent more infectious. It was first found in the United Kingdom.
All passengers coming from the UK will have to undergo COVID-19 RT-PCR tests within 72 hours, the state government has said.
"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," Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said today. He had told reporters yesterday "there's no need for night curfew for now," while stressing "we've to be extra cautious", news agency PTI reported.
"This (night curfew) has been done to prevent and contain the coronavirus strain found in the UK. We are also monitoring international passengers arriving in the state," Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, adding "there's no ban on inter-state travel". Schools will reopen for class 10 and class 12 students from January 1, the Health Minister said.
The new restrictions are likely to cloud the Christmas and New Year celebrations. "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," Dr K Sudhakar told reporters today when asked if Christmas celebrations would be allowed on Friday.
On Monday, Maharashtra announced an 11 PM to 6 AM night curfew till January 5 in Mumbai and other cities, a day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he was against a night curfew although experts had recommended it.
Maharashtra has the most number of Covid cases in the country - 19,02,458 - followed by Karnataka (9,11,382).
Yesterday, the centre said the mutant strain has not been seen in India so far. "The new strain or mutation of (the) coronavirus in the United Kingdom has not been seen in India, so far. (And) as of now, it has no impact on the potential of vaccines being developed in our country and (which) are available in other countries ," Dr VK Paul, a member of government think-tank NITI Aayog, said.
"We can say that the virus has become super-spreader," he added.
India is among over 30 countries that have announced temporary UK travel ban. The mutant strain was first reported in Britain in September and has led to a surge in the country's Covid cases. Italy and Denmark have also reported patients infected with the mutant strain.
The World Health Organization on Monday insisted the new strain is not yet out of control. "So this situation is not in that sense out of control. But it cannot be left to its own devices," WHO's emergencies chief Michael Ryan told a press conference.
India has so far logged over 1 crore Covid cases and 1.46 lakh deaths.