Panaji, Nov 25: A group of private dentists in Goa wore black arm bands during an interaction with BJP president J P Nadda here to register their protest against the recent hike in biomedical waste handling charges by the state government.

The dentists registered the protest during the interaction that Nadda held with medical professionals from different streams late Wednesday evening, which was organised by the BJP's state medical cell. The group of dentists, which protested, was affiliated to the Indian Dental Association (IDA).

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who was also present there, later said the protesting dentists, who "created a scene" before the BJP president, were "politically motivated".

Eyewitnesses said the doctors, during the question-answer session with Nadda, objected to the increase in the biomedical waste handling charges by the Goa government

Talking to reporters after the protest, Dr Anil D'Silva, member of the IDA, said that dentists have been "illogically placed in the category of doctors who produce heavy biomedical waste".

He pointed out that a new private contractor from Delhi has been hired to collect the biomedical waste, and the firm has placed dentists in the category of those producing higher quantity of such waste, due to which the charges have gone up.

Talking to reporters over the protest, CM Sawant said the dentists had met him in the past and their demand was under consideration.

"There was no need to protest during such a function as it is a state subject and I had answered properly to their questions," he said.

Sawant said that some doctors who were "politically motivated" were creating a scene at the function, where the BJP chief was present.

Issuing a statement over the incident, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) last night said, "With respect to today's incident during the doctors interaction at Hotel Fidalgo, the CM assures to positively resolve the issues raised by the aggrieved, unfortunately for reasons unknown, the protest began after the assurance was given."

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Bengaluru, Nov 30: Amid growing concerns over Omicron, the new variant of coronavirus, the Karnataka government on Tuesday said international travellers arriving in the state will have to mandatorily undergo RT-PCR test and be in seven days home quarantine.

Health Minister K Sudhakar said that about 2,500 international passengers arrive in the state every day and it is now mandatory for everyone to undergo RT-PCR testing.

"Mandatory RT-PCR test is being carried out for travelers from countries where the new virus is found. The Chief Minister has instructed us to test travelers from all countries," he said after meeting with the Technical Advisory Committee.

"About 2,500 passengers come to the state every day from various nations. Those who are negative will be home quarantined for seven days. Those who are symptomatic and negative will have to undergo testing at home on the fifth day. Those who are asymptomatic will be tested on the seventh day. If positive, they will be immediately hospitalized and treated separately," he said.

Noting that the Omicron variant has been found in 12 countries across the world, the Minister said all necessary precautionary measures are being taken to prevent it affecting people in the state.

"Considering our population and health infrastructure, we need to be more careful than other countries. Preparations for the health care services, including availability of beds, oxygen beds, deployment of doctors and personnel, supply of medicine were also discussed at the meeting," he said.

Sudhakar said those who have not got vaccinated should voluntarily come forward, get the shots and stay safe.

Suggestions on vaccine drive and measures to increase the numbers were discussed at the meeting, he said, adding that 41 lakh people are slated to get the second dose of Covid vaccine and efforts will be made to reach out to them.

"At the meeting, ways to effectively deal with the Omicron virus, how to control it and what preparations are to be taken in hospitals and medical colleges were also discussed," he said. Using technology such as Quarantine App, Tele Medicine are also being considered and a panel of 10 experts has been set up to formulate separate guidelines for treatment, Sudhakar said.

According to a release from the Minister's office, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will write a letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to impose restrictions on travelers from specific countries where Omicron infections have been reported.