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Curfew in Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve, rules for state to be out soon

On reports of some UK returnees not reporting for testing, health minister Sudhakar said officials have been instructed to immediately locate them, and they will be found within two days.

The Bengaluru police Monday imposed a curfew in the city on New Year’s Eve, wile the Karnataka government said it will come up with guidelines to ensure ‘simple’ New Year celebrations.

Bengaluru City Police commissioner Kamal Pant clamped section 144 (prohibitory orders) across Bengaluru from 6 pm of December 31 to 6 am of January 1, 2021. In the order issued on Monday evening, Pant said gathering of five or more people and celebrations of the new year on a public road are strictly prohibited. ‘No-man’ zones will be created at MG Road, Church Street, Brigade Road, Koramangala and Indiranagar, and only those with advance reservation coupons for pubs, bars and restaurants will be allowed, said Pant.

The Karnataka government had already forbidden public gatherings for New Year revelries, through an order on December 17.

On Monday, state Home minister Basavaraj Bommai and Minister of Health and Medical Education Dr K Sudhakar held a meeting with Health department officials and senior police officers, where it was decided that the Health Department will come up with guidelines to ensure the New Year is celebrated in a ‘simple and meaningful way’.

After the meeting, K Sudhakar said “It is important to make sure the new year is celebrated in a simple manner in the backdrop of Covid19. The guidelines will consist of rules to be followed in Bengaluru and other parts of the state.”

Earlier on Sunday, Bommai had said, “The guidelines will be issued to prevent further spread of coronavirus. The objective is to avoid a huge congregation of people at public places, which gives room for coronavirus to spread rapidly.”

In the December 17 order, the state government had appealed to the public to keep celebrations indoors and banned all DJ events and dance parties. The order, issued by Chief Secretary Vijay Bhaskar, permitted bursting of only green crackers, while revellers were advised to refrain from handshakes and hugs.

26 UK returnees test positive; samples sent for genetic sequencing

As many as 26 people who returned to Karnataka from the United Kingdom have tested positive for Covid-19, health minister Sudhakar said. Their samples have been sent for genetic sequencing to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bengaluru, to test for the mutated coronavirus strain.

On reports of some UK returnees not reporting for testing, Sudhakar said officials have been instructed to immediately locate them, and they will be found within two days.

“Some of the UK returnees have switched off their phones and are unavailable. It is a crime to not get in touch without being tested,” Sudhakar said.

Of the 26 who tested positive, all are in designated hospitals and not in home isolation, he added.

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