The Karnataka government has passed a new order once again curbing the number of people who can meet at social gatherings, death ceremonies and other events in the state, after a disturbing spike in COVID-19 cases.
Even as the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination is in full swing in the state, Jawed Akhtar, state health secretary, has issued a circular on March 13, restricting the number of people who can come together in large social gatherings.
This circular has been issued on a day the state recorded two more COVID-19 cases with the South African strain. The South African variant of SARS-CoV2, which allegedly may reduce antibody protection from the vaccine, was first reported in India in mid-February.
According to the circular, only 200 people will be now allowed to attend social and cultural events like weddings in halls or closed spaces. Earlier, the limit was 500 people.
For events like birthday parties, only 50 people will be allowed, and the same restriction applies for cremations or burials. If these ceremonies are held outside, the government extends the limit to 100 people but they will have to practice social distancing and wear masks, said the circular, India Today reported.
In the case of religious and political gatherings in open spaces, only 500 people can come together, while only 100 can meet in congregations. That too, if the venue is spacious to maintain physical distancing and other protocols.
Meanwhile, the state government had earlier banned all late-night parties at star hotels and restaurants to control the spread of the infections. “All star hotels and restaurants across the state have been directed to stop late-night parties from Thursday to prevent them from turning into super-spreaders of the pandemic,” Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar had said at that time.
He had tweeted at that time as well that he was worried that more than 13,000 coronavirus cases have been found in the last 24 hours in neighbouring Maharashtra, which bothers him. Karnataka itself had also been witnessing a sharp rise in the number of active cases in the last ten days.
The state health department has also ramped up testing targets for districts bordering Kerala and Maharashtra since these areas have witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases.
According to the state health department, 833 new cases were recorded in Karnataka on March 11, taking the state’s COVID-19 tally to 9,58,417, including 8,114 positive cases. There have been 5 new COVID-19 deaths.
The first coronavirus case in Karnataka was detected a year ago on March 8, 2020 in Bangalore urban area.