The Karnataka government on Wednesday announced a 11 pm – 5 am night curfew in the state from December 24 to January 2 in an effort to ensure that a new strain of Covid-19 discovered in the UK does not spread during the Christmas and New Year period.
“In view of the new strain of the Covid 19 virus and as per the advice of the government of India and the state technical advisory committee, it is decided to impose night curfew from December 24 till January 2, 2021, from 11 pm to 5 am. I request the public to co-operate and contain the new Covid -19 strain,” Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said on Wednesday.
“During the night curfew on December 24, the midnight services at churches will not be hindered,” Yediyurappa said. The night curfew will not restrict movement of all types of goods, and industries and factories that require 24/7 operations, long-distance buses, trains and flights will be allowed to operate, a government order stated.
The decision followed a meeting attended by the Chief Minister, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar and members of the state technical advisory committee.
“It has been reported that some recent returnees from the United Kingdom to the state have tested positive for Covid-19. However, the samples of these patients are undergoing further tests to determine if they have contracted a new variant of the virus,” Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar said in the order for imposing the night curfew.
“Night curfew decision is not a happy decision but it is inevitable. It has been imposed considering public health and safety,” said the health minister.
The state health department is keeping a watch on all those who have returned from the UK between November 25 and December 22, the health minister said. “They will undergo 28 days of compulsory quarantine,” he said.
“We have four elite institutes in Bengaluru, including the IISc and NIMHANS, to study the genetic sequence of the virus. Samples of positive persons will be given to these institutions for study and research will be conducted on the new variant of the virus,” Dr Sudhakar said.
“Everyone should be sensible and act responsibly in this matter, we should not consider only financial implications, public health is also paramount. The curfew is for only nine days, it will help us to study the genetic sequence of the new mutant during this period,” he said.
On Wednesday, the association of bar and restaurant owners said the night curfew order would affect their business at a time when customers had started returning to these establishments.