RT-PCR rule hard to implement, say experts and officials

March 26, 2021 10:21 pm | Updated 10:21 pm IST - Bengaluru

Although the State has made an RT-PCR negative certificate mandatory for people entering Bengaluru from all States from April 1, implementation of this rule is a Herculean task, said officials and COVID-19 experts.

Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar on Thursday announced that those who do not possess a negative certificate will be tested on arrival. Sources said this is practically impossible as scores of people come to Bengaluru by rail, road, air besides private vehicles every day.

Hard to monitor

“Also, checking the negative certificates at the entry points (except at the airport) of all travellers is not possible. This will only lead to a pile-up of vehicles at the borders and entry points,” said an official.

Giridhar R. Babu, member of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee admitted there are many practical difficulties in implementing this rule. “However, as the Government of India’s guidelines clearly indicate that inter-State travel cannot be restricted, this is the best the State could have done,” he said.

“As done through the last year, it is yet again time for people to show the same amount of social responsibility in following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. Even if random checks are done, it will send out a message that having a negative certificate is a must,” said Dr. Babu, who heads Lifecourse Epidemiology at the Indian Institute of Public Health in Bengaluru.

Seva Sindhu

V. Ravi, another TAC member who is also the nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, also stated that implementation is a major bottleneck.

“Unless some digital system such as Seva Sindhu, the portal used during lockdown for prior registration of people coming to Karnataka from other States, is activated again, it is impossible to check every traveller. This is the best option that will help tighten enforcement,” he said.

Stating that checking the negative certificate of every person arriving is practically impossible, the doctor said it would only lead to huge traffic blocks at the entry points. Also, collecting swabs at the entry points and making them wait till the test reports come is another ordeal, he said.

Seva Sindhu was used extensively last year and had streamlined the process of screening at entry points. “If that is in place again, people will have no other go but to upload their certificates on the portal for entry into Bengaluru. I will raise this in the next TAC meeting,” said Dr. Ravi.

Protocol awaited

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said the health department will come out with protocols for implementing the guidelines. “We will follow the department’s protocols,” he said.

Asked if Seva Sindhu would be reactivated as part of the implementation strategy, the commissioner said the government will take a call on that in a day or two.

Meanwhile, the TAC met late on Friday night to review the testing targets based on the new positivity rate in districts.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.