Karnataka has become the second state after Maharashtra to impose night curfew amid fears of a new Covid strain from the UK. Making the announcement on Wednesday, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said the night curfew will come into effect on December 24 and be in force in January 2. The curfew hours will be from 11 pm to 5 am.
The announcement of the night curfew came after the CM held detailed discussions with members of the technical advisory committee on Wednesday morning. “In view of the new strain of Coronavirus, night curfew for nine days will be imposed till January 2,” Yediyurappa told reporters.
Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said the night curfew has been imposed as per suggestions given by the technical advisory committee. “The health department is keeping a close watch on passengers who have arrived from the United Kingdom,” Sudhakar said.
He added that people are being advised to wind up their activities by 10 pm. Unnecessary gatherings and celebrations are prohibited. The minister also urged citizens to cooperate as the decision has been taken in the interest of public health and safety.
Officials in the state health department will ensure vigilance on those who arrived from the UK between November 25 and December 22. The returnees will undergo 28 days of compulsory quarantine. Health officials will cater to their needs during the initial 14 days of quarantine after which they will have to voluntarily restrict themselves at home, the minister said.
Sudhakar said 2,500 passengers from UK have arrived in the state during this period. “Two flights arrived during this period. Details of the passengers are available and every single one of them will be kept under strict vigilance. RT-PCR test will be conducted if anyone is found symptomatic,” he added.
“The Indian Institute of Science and National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bengaluru will study the genetic sequence of the virus. Swab samples of positive patients will be sent to these institutions for study and research on the new variant of the virus,” Sudhakar added.
Responding to objections raised by the Bar and Hotel Owners’ Association over the move to impose night curfew, Sudhakar said the decision is inevitable. “Considering public health and safety, night curfew has been imposed. There are no restrictions on any activities till 10 pm and no agricultural activity, including transportation and marketing of farm produce, will be affected,” he said.
The minister said that the curfew will only be in force for nine days and help the health department to study the genetic sequence of the new mutant.
Night Curfew Guidelines
Karnataka Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar issued detailed guidelines on the night curfew on Wednesday evening.
As per the norms, movement of individuals is strictly prohibited between 11 pm and 5 am, with the exception of those involved in essential services. There are no restrictions on the movement of goods through trucks, goods vehicles or carriers, including empty vehicles, Vijay Bhaskar said.
All industries, companies and organisations, which require operations at night, have been permitted to operate with 50 per cent staff. Movement of employees of such organisations shall be allowed on producing valid ID cards issued by their respective organisation or institution.
Industries and factories which operate 24×7 have been allowed to function without any restrictions, while the movement of long-distance night bus, trains and flights are also 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. The movement will be allowed on displaying valid tickets,” the order said. Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus will operate normally, BMTC PRO confirmed.
Midnight Mass on December 24 night shall be permitted as per guidelines already issued on December 17, the chief secretary added.
The December order banned New Year celebrations in clubs, pubs and restaurants. Issued by Vijay Bhaskar, the order only permits bursting of green crackers on festive nights and revellers have been advised to refrain from handshakes and hugs. It has also specified that organisers and supervisors at churches must ensure that large gatherings are avoided at one time and social distancing is maintained.
Meanwhile, TS Latha, public relations officer, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), said buses will ply as usual during this period.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines