Amid surging cases, Karnataka on Thursday made a negative Covid test report mandatory for passengers arriving in Bengaluru from any state across the country.

“Passengers arriving in Bengaluru from any state must carry a negative test report through RT-PCR method…,” state Health Minister K. Sudhakar told reporters here.

As epicentre of the pandemic in the state, Bengaluru accounted for 1,623 cases on Wednesday, taking its Covid tally to 4,22,859, including 12,472 active cases.

The state Health Department has decided to stamp the hands of infected visitors to isolate and quarantine them to contain the pandemic.

“Covid cases are spiking daily in the city due to an increasing number of infected visitors from other states, especially Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab where Covid cases have been surging of late,” Sudhakar said.

As part of containment measures, the city civic corporation has restricted large gatherings in open spaces to 500 people and 200 people in closed premises.

“Violators of Covid norms will be heavily fined to reduce the cases. Wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and sanitising hands are mandatory for every citizen and owners of hotels, restaurants, wedding halls and venues,” said Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has provided an ambulance to each of the 198 civic wards to rush infected persons to the nearest hospital for treatment.

“More ambulances can be arranged in civic wards if cases increase. Protocols will be implemented for care and treatment of Covid patients,” he said.

The civic body has also decided to sanitise places with high footfalls and dense population to contain the virus spread.

The Health Department has re-opened three large Covid Care Centres across the city to keep all asymptomatic patients for observation and treatment.

With the Union Health Ministry allowing all people above 45 years of age to be vaccinated from April 1, Sudhakar said inoculation drive would be intensified.

“Mutant virus has been reported in some parts of the country. As a mutant version spreads faster than the original strain, citizens have to be careful over the next 2 months and follow the Covid appropriate behaviour to be safe,” he added.

The Health Department has also intensified testing, tracing and treating all cases to reduce active cases across the city, which accounts for over 60 per cent of the state’s caseload.

–IANS

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