The Karnataka government has declared all journalists in the state as frontline workers and will consider them for priority vaccination against COVID-19, state Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said.
The move comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the state — 44,631 cases were recorded today, with 20,870 cases in Bengaluru alone.
“Our government has decided to consider journalists as frontline workers and accord priority in vaccination against Covid-19,” the chief minister said in a tweet today. The journalists will get the vaccine shot free of cost.
Our government has decided to consider journalists as frontline workers and accord priority in vaccination against Covid-19.
— B.S. Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) May 4, 2021
The chief minister, however, asked journalists not to cover incidents in a manner which creates fear among people. “There is a health emergency situation in the state as well as the country. It is the responsibility of the media to point out flaws and shortcomings but showing one issue continuously will create fear among people,” Mr Yediyurappa said after a special cabinet meeting.
Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh are some of the other states which have declared journalists as Covid warriors and announced various benefits for them, including priority vaccination against coronavirus.
The states have said that journalists have been taking grave risks in covering the pandemic from the ground, and they need to be protected from the virus.
Karnataka, along with Maharashtra and Delhi, is among the 10 states that account for 71.71 per cent of the 3,57,229 new COVID-19 cases in the country, the Union Health Ministry said today.
A state Covid ministerial task force meeting was held today, during which several other decisions were taken to tackle the pandemic and address issues like shortage of medical oxygen and beds. It was decided that ministers will be appointed to supervise the oxygen and Remdesivir supply, bed availability and Covid Call centres and war rooms.
Several hospitals in Bengaluru have been sending out appeals for oxygen, some of them even asking patients, who have already been admitted, to find a bed elsewhere as they are running out of the life-giving gas.
Amid widespread demand to treat journalists as frontline workers and give them preference in vaccination, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, quoting from a report, on Sunday had said that 165 Indian journalists have lost their lives to Covid so far.