Karnataka’s Health Minister Rao reassured the public, stating that the sate government is closely monitoring the situation and will issue more advisories based on expert recommendations.
NEW DELHI: In response to the detection of the COVID-19 subvariant JN.1 in neighbouring Kerala, the Karnataka government has issued a directive urging individuals above 60 years of age, especially those with comorbidities and symptoms like cough, phlegm, and fever, to wear face masks. Karnataka’s Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao announced these precautionary measures on Monday, emphasizing the need for increased testing among individuals exhibiting symptoms and heightened surveillance in border districts.
The health situation is under constant scrutiny, with officials emphasizing that, at present, there is no need to impose restrictions on movement or gatherings. Karnataka Minister Rao reassured the public, stating that the government is closely monitoring the situation and will issue advisories based on expert recommendations.
Mandatory Mask-Wearing For Vulnerable Groups
Emphasizing the importance of protection for vulnerable groups, Rao stated, “Those above 60 years and individuals with comorbidities, such as heart and kidney issues, should mandatorily wear masks.” Hospitals and health centres have been instructed to be on high alert, particularly in border districts like Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, and Chamarajanagara, which share borders with Kerala.
Proactive Surveillance And Testing
While ruling out immediate curbs or restrictions, Rao outlined plans to enhance surveillance in border areas and increase testing for individuals with symptoms or suspected cases. The government will assess the situation in the coming days and determine further measures based on the test results.
No Restrictions On Pilgrims For Now
Addressing concerns about Ayyappa pilgrims returning from Kerala, Rao clarified that, for the time being, there are no restrictions on movement or gatherings. The government will continue to monitor the situation daily and take necessary actions if adverse information arises.
Mock Drill, Hospital Preparedness
Highlighting the state’s preparedness, Minister Rao mentioned that mock drills have been conducted at all hospitals to assess their readiness. Checks on the availability of beds, ventilators, oxygen supply, masks, testing facilities, and personal protective equipment (PPE) have been completed to ensure a prompt response in case of an emergency.
Detection Of JN.1 Subvariant In Kerala
In a broader context, the Union Health Ministry has initiated preparedness measures following the identification of the JN.1 subvariant in Kerala. This case was identified as part of routine surveillance conducted by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).
The government aims to keep the public well-informed and advised, emphasizing the importance of adherence to safety protocols, especially among the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.