Monday, February 6, 2023

BF.7 variant shows low virulence: K’taka Health Min

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Tuesday said the BF.7 variant of COVID-19 is transmissible with low virulence, but emphasised that senior citizens, children and pregnant women must remain cautious. He said COVID response mock drills to check readiness to deal with any increase in the number of coronavirus cases are in place in all districts and talukas across the state.
“BF.7 is a sub-variant of Omicron, but the only difference between other variants and this is that the rate of its spread is high, but does not have much virulence,” Sudhakar told reporters here. He said, however, that reports from other countries have suggested that the virulence is slightly high among the aged and those with co-morbidities.
“That’s the reason in the guidelines issued yesterday, we have given importance to them (old and co-morbid) and have advised them to avoid places or activities where large crowd gathers and wear masks if unavoidable. Similar is the case with pregnant women and children,” he added.
Stepping up preventive measures in the wake of spurt in COVID-19 cases globally, the Karnataka government on Monday mandated the use of masks at cinema theatres and educational institutions and asked sections of population including the elders to avoid crowded gatherings.
Two doses of COVID vaccination is compulsory at bars, restaurants and pubs, which will operate only up to the seating capacity for the New Year celebrations that should end by 1 am on January 1, it said.
Responding to a question on keeping a vigil on borders along Maharashtra, Sudhakar said the Centre has directed states to monitor international passengers, and in the neighbouring state too the authorities should be keeping a guard.

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