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Karnataka Mandates Face Masks For Individuals Over 60 Following Detection Of COVID-19 Sub-Variant

In response to the detection of the COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 in neighboring Kerala, the Karnataka government has mandated face masks for individuals above 60, emphasizing increased testing and surveillance in border districts.

Delhi is reporting a surge in Covid-19 cases for the past week. (Representative photo)
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The Karnataka government has issued a directive for individuals aged 60 and above, with comorbidities, and experiencing symptoms such as cough, phlegm, and fever, to wear face masks. This precautionary measure comes in response to the detection of a case of the COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 in neighboring Kerala. Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao emphasized the importance of increased testing for those displaying symptoms and suspected cases, along with heightened surveillance in border districts like Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, and Chamarajanagara that share borders with Kerala, as reported by PTI. 

Rao assured the public that the situation is under constant monitoring, and at present, there is no need for restrictions on movement or gatherings. He mentioned that a recent meeting, including the technical advisory committee led by Dr. K. Ravi, discussed necessary measures. Rao stated, "There is no need for anyone to worry. We will issue an advisory based on the situation."

The Health Minister highlighted that individuals above 60 and those with comorbidities must wear masks, emphasizing communication with the public on this matter. Hospitals and health centers have been instructed to be prepared, with a particular focus on border districts. Rao explained, "In a couple of days, we will assess the infection rate. Depending on the results, further measures may be considered. There is no need for immediate curbs or restrictions."

Addressing concerns about Ayyappa pilgrims returning from Kerala, Rao clarified that there are currently no restrictions on movement. He stated, "We will monitor the situation daily. If we receive adverse information, we will take necessary actions." Additionally, Rao mentioned the completion of a mock drill at all hospitals to evaluate their preparedness, covering aspects such as beds, ventilators, oxygen supply, masks, testing, and PPE kits. Instructions have been issued to health centers, taluk, and district hospitals to make necessary preparations for potential emergencies.

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