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Karnataka minister hints at free COVID vaccine in state

Hinting at the same, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said,"Either the Government of India or the Government of Karnataka or both together will ensure that the (costs of the Covid-19) vaccine to be rolled out will be taken care of in the interest of the people."

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru | Updated: December 21, 2020 8:16:21 am
A couple wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus shop at a Christmas souvenir shop ahead of Christmas in Bengaluru (AP)

Karnataka is likely to join the list of a few Indian states that have announced that the coronavirus vaccine will be distributed free of cost in the state.

Hinting at the same, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar said,”Either the Government of India or the Government of Karnataka or both together will ensure that the (costs of the Covid-19) vaccine to be rolled out will be taken care of in the interest of the people. Money is not an issue.” He was responding to queries raised by reporters in Bengaluru citing neighbouring state Kerala’s recent promise of free Covid-19 vaccination for all in the state.

Sudhakar also claimed that the state government has been taking proactive measures to ensure the pandemic is handled well. “Right from day-1, we have been offering free tests and treatment to many. We have tested over 1.2 crore people in the state for coronavirus free of cost. The government is proactive and committed to handling this pandemic,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister also reiterated that people should avoid New Year celebrations where they gather in huge numbers to avoid a further uptick in the rate of new Covid-19 cases in the state. “Thousands congregate in congested places usually for New Year celebrations, especially in areas of Bengaluru and other urban areas, in a claustrophobic atmosphere. This should be avoided and the government has taken all measures to discourage such events this time,” he said.

Earlier this week, the state government had ordered a ban on New Year celebrations in clubs, pubs, and restaurants. As per the order, the ban will be in place for four days from December 30 to January 2.

Meanwhile, with 15 more deaths in the past few days linked to the pandemic, the total death toll in Karnataka rose to 12,004 on Saturday. While 9.08 lakh people have contracted Covid-19 since March 8, over 8.81 lakh people have recovered so far. Around 42 per cent of the total cases and discharges to date in the state have been recorded within the limits of capital Bengaluru alone.

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