Bengaluru, Jan 5: Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Wednesday said people need to be cautious for the next four to six weeks to control a possible third wave of Covid-19 and the spread of Omicron variant in the state. The minister called on the people to follow the guidelines and containment measures announced by the government and cooperate with the administration.
"New Covid guidelines have been released after a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister. My appeal to the people is, four to six weeks is crucial. As we have observed worldwide, it is declining in five to six weeks. This wave will not be for too long, like in the first and second wave that was for three to four months," Sudhakar said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said the latest wave spreads fast and will also decline in the same phase. "If we remain cautious for at least four to six weeks, we will be able to control it," he said, adding that there is no need to worry in case of infections.
The Karnataka government on Tuesday decided to impose curfew on weekends and restrict public gatherings to fight the third wave of Covid-19 till January 19. Also, the daily night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am, which is supposed to end January 7, will continue for two more weeks.
Noting that the Omicron variant of coronavirus enters the throat through the nose, but entering the lungs is very rare, the minister, who is also a medical professional, said. This is the reason why the cases requiring oxygen, ventilators and ICU are very less this time, he added.
"But, its effect may be more on those who have not taken both the doses of Covid vaccination. So, I request people with folded hands to get vaccinated with both doses mandatorily," Sudhakar said.
Those above 60 years and with comorbidities will be given the third preventive dose of vaccination from January 10 along with health workers and front line Covid warriors, he said adding that "our fast phase vaccination effort has helped Karnataka to control the large scale spread of the virus."
Speaking about the ongoing vaccination drive for those between the age group of 15-18 years that was rolled out on January 3, Sudhakar said Karnataka is at the third place in the country by covering about 25 per cent of the age group in the state.
"One in every four children (adolescents) in this age group have been vaccinated so far. It is happening at a fast phase," he said, adding that the vaccine drive is on track to with the government's target to cover the entire population in the age group within 10 to 15 days. Covaxin is being administered to adolescents between 15-18 years as per central government guidelines and the second dose will be given after a gap of 28 days.
The minister also sought cooperation from all stakeholders, including opposition parties and organisations, to join hands with the government in containing the spread of the virus.
To a question on Congress organising the Mekedatu padayatra (march) from January 9 amid the outbreak of cases and government imposing restrictions, he said, "People will decide. They are watching everything. We (the government) have not released the guideline without any malice."
"We are seeing the Covid spread before us. I hope Congress will understand, as they too want to protect the public interest. They too have been in government for long," Sudhakar added.
Asked if there will be any action on violations, he said, "Law will take its course." The Congress is organising the march from Mekedatu to Bengaluru, covering a distance of over 100 kilometres, demanding the implementation of the Mekedatu project across Cauvery river, which is being opposed by neighbouring Tamil Nadu.