Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra on Sunday said the administration will intensify and conduct round-the-clock screening and testing of travellers from Kerala to the district in view of the enhanced COVID-19 threat.
Dr. Rajendra told reporters here though the administration had upped the testing and checking at borders since four months, it became somewhat lax for the last one month after drastic reduction in cases. Still, Kerala reports about 8% test positivity rate and hence there was need to enhance surveillance.
The Chief Minister on Saturday has directed to deploy police and other department personnel at border check posts to intensify screening and testing. Police personnel were already deployed at check posts and personnel from other departments would join from Monday. It was herculean task at the Talapady check post on NH 66 where about 60 vehicles pass in a minute, he said.
The Deputy Commissioner said the administration faces challenge in screening and testing as people in Kasargod in Kerala and Dakshina Kannada districts share close bond while about 40% people in Kasargod depend on Dakshina Kannada for their routine activities. The borders are too porous thereby intensifying the challenge.
“We treat them as our own people and conduct screening and testing causing the least inconvenience,” he said. A list of regular travellers would be prepared and periodical testing/ checking would be conducted.
Inter-State bus services would continue for now; but bus crew have to ensure passengers possess RT-PCR test negative certificate, Dr. Rajendra said.
As far as international travellers arriving in the district, the Deputy Commissioner said RT-PCR negative certificate was mandatory while boarding the flight itself. Passengers from red-list countries would be tested again on their arrival at Mangaluru International Airport and irrespective of negative report, they would have to undergo a week’s home quarantine, he said. He would soon hold meeting with airport authorities in this regard, the Deputy Commissioner added.
Udupi Deputy Commissioner M. Kurma Rao in a statement said daily testing would be increased from 3,000 to 4,000 as per government directions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 new variant.
More random tests would be conducted for students and educational institutions staff, people working in hotels, restaurants, malls, shops, catering, door delivery, industries, pubs, bars and offices. While 50% of the test targets would be done in Udupi, the rest would be done in rural areas.