Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday ruled out a lockdown, but said that the state government was taking utmost precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, PTI reported.

Bommai made the statement amid concerns about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has designated as a variant of concern.

The Karnataka chief minister said that the government has instructed officials to increase the number of Covid-19 tests per day.

“The [state] health minister will be holding a meeting with officials and experts, the outcome of which will be shared with me, following which we may take certain decisions keeping in view the current circumstances,” Bommai said, according to PTI.

Bommai said that normal life should continue, but coronavirus-related regulations should be followed at places where residents gather in groups. The chief minister added that extra vigilance will be maintained in the areas where clusters have emerged.

The chief minister said that the government is “extra vigilant” about people who have travelled from foreign countries and is tracking, tracing and testing them and their contacts.

Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said that the state government will decide on placing restrictions on Christmas, New Year celebrations and the the upcoming Assembly elections based on the World Health Organization’s report on the new Covid-19 variant.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru Rural District Health Officer Tippeswamy told ANI that all international passengers who test negative for Covid-19 on arrival in the city will be placed under quarantine for seven days. Such passengers will be tested again after seven days, he said.

The official said that 598 passengers who arrived from other countries were under surveillance as of Monday.

One person infected with variant other than Delta, says minister

At least one person who returned from South Africa recently has been infected with a variant of Covid-19 “different from the Delta variant”, K Sudhakar said on Monday, according to The Indian Express.

Sudhakar made the statement days after two persons who arrived in India from South Africa tested positive for the coronavirus.

The minister said that the patient is around 63 years old. He added that the state government has been holding discussions with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Union health ministry in this regard.

Sudhakar said that the government should have clarity on the matter by Tuesday evening.

Last week, the Centre had directed states and Union Territories to ensure rigorous screening of international travellers in the light of the Omicron variant. The government said that the variant has “serious public health implications” for the country.