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Updated: June 24, 2013 10:59 IST

Yellow fever shot farce at airport makes Bangalorean see red

Staff Reporter
Comment (4)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
George Kutty: ‘The quarantine rule smacks of racism.’ File photo.
The Hindu
George Kutty: ‘The quarantine rule smacks of racism.’ File photo.

His forced quarantine on returning from Colombia was a charade

It was an experience that left him both rattled and fuming. When film expert George Kutty returned last week from Colombia, he was stopped at immigration at the Bengaluru International Airport for not getting the yellow fever shot, a prerequisite for those returning from many African and South American countries.

What followed was nothing less than an ordeal for the 62-year-old Bangalorean, angered by what he calls the “farce” of the quarantine process that followed. In the middle of the night, immigration insisted he be sent to a private hospital in Ulsoor to be quarantined for six days (as he had already travelled for three days, he would have had to stay put in isolation for three more).

‘Archaic and racist’

Mr. Kutty says that the rule itself is “archaic” and one that smacks of “racism”. But, even if that is the rule, he asks, of what use is it if the only purpose is to make people pay an exorbitant amount as hospital fee for the quarantine period and then send them back home.

The hospital issued him a bill for Rs. 10,000 (with a waiver of Rs. 3,000), which included bed charges, nursing charges and resident duty doctor fee for facilities he never used. All the “treatment” he got was three sessions where his temperature and blood pressure were checked. He even got a discharge slip that states that he was quarantined, monitored and declared fit. In the meanwhile, not only did Mr. Kutty not quarantine himself, he also (with the doctor’s permission) visited Kolar to attend a film event.

“If they were serious about the rule, they would have implemented it sincerely at three levels: when I left the country, by the airline (which never asked me for any vaccination) and then when I come back, where I am subjected to a real quarantine process,” he contends.

Rules are rolls: official

An immigration official, who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, denied that the rule was being enforced arbitrarily. “Once in a while people get by but the rulebook mandates that all travellers entering the country from African and South American countries get the yellow fever vaccination. When asked why Mr. Kutty was not stopped when he was leaving for Colombia, he said that the government does not enforce the rule for those leaving India. “We cannot comment on whether there are any real cases of yellow fever as we immediately refer them to the empanelled hospital.”

The hospital doctor remained unavailable for comment.

More In: Bengaluru

In this case George Kutty should be chargesheeted for risking his and other lives. so many people get the shot as process

from:  armando
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 22:47 IST

This is the issue faced by many Indian expatriates who have their livelihood in Africa/South America.

The Government should first ensure there is enough vacination availbale in the country. Currently India is seriously short of Yellow fever vacination. This issue has been ongoing for the past three to four months. People who have to travel abroad pay exhorbitant sums of money (atleast five to six times than the authorised fees)if available at the authorised centres.

Lawmakers should first ensure that enough vacine is available in the country if the rule has to be enforced.

In West Africa when a person arrives without a vacination card he will be injected at the airport. For a change why cant the Indian Government take a cue out of the African countries and have a health officer in every airport who is authorised to inject the vacination. The law is made to facilitate the welfare of the citizens and is not there to penalize anyone for the governments shortcomings.

from:  Krishnan Ramachandran
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 16:48 IST

There may be a bigger nexes between the immigration officials and the private hospital providing quarentine arrangements.It seems to be a scam.

from:  K.Sugavanam
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 14:39 IST

Assuming that George Kutty is literate why did he not find about about health regulations before leaving? I travel to Africa regularly and I got my Yellow Fever shot at Hyderabad with a 10 year validity. Very simple procedure. Why goof up and then whine when rules are enforced?

from:  Dr.Gopinath
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 12:12 IST
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