K’taka caps gatherings at weddings to 100 amid Covid surge

Amid surging Covid cases, Karnataka on Friday banned large gatherings at weddings and public functions across the state to prevent the virus spread, a top official said.

“Gathering of people will be restricted to 200 from 500 earlier in halls or closed places for social and cultural events like weddings,” state health secretary Jawaid Akhtar said in a circular.

With more coronavirus clusters emerging in cities and towns across the state, especially in Bengaluru, the circular in Kannada has put a cap on the number of people who can gather in public places.

“Only 50 people will be allowed at birthday parties in closed space or death ceremonies like cremations or burials. If they are held in open spaces, 100 people can be allowed with social distancing and wearing masks,” Akhtar said in the circular.

About 500 people are allowed in open spaces for religious and political gatherings and 100 for other congregations if the venue is spacious to maintain physical distancing and other protocols.

The state health department has also increased testing targets for districts bordering Kerala and Maharashtra where the cases have been rising.

The state government had on Wednesday banned all late-night parties at star hotels and restaurants in the state, including in Bengaluru, to curb the surge in infections.

With 833 new cases reported on Thursday, the state’s Covid tally shot up to 9,58,417, including 8,114 positive cases, while recoveries rose to 9,37,898.

As the epi-centre of the pandemic in the southern state, Bengaluru registered 526 fresh cases on Thursday, taking its tally to 4,10,181 while recoveries rose to 3,99,656, with 341 persons getting discharged during the day.