Karnataka insists on RT-PCR test for Kerala, Maharashtra travellers

Passengers arriving by flight, bus, train and personal transport must show proof

July 31, 2021 02:38 pm | Updated November 22, 2021 09:55 pm IST - Bengaluru

Police personnel check travellers entering Karnataka from Kerala at Talapady, near Mangaluru on July 31.

Police personnel check travellers entering Karnataka from Kerala at Talapady, near Mangaluru on July 31.

With Kerala and Maharashtra seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, Karnataka has made a negative RT-PCR certificate mandatory for all arrivals from the two States. The certificate should not be older than 72 hours, irrespective of vaccination status.

“The negative certificate is mandatory for all the passengers coming to Karnataka by flight, bus, train and personal transport. This is applicable for all flights originating in Kerala and Maharashtra. Airlines should issue boarding passes only to passengers carrying RT-PCR negative certificates not older than 72 hours,” an official circular said.

The government directed all Deputy Commissioners of Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu and Mysuru and Belagavi, Vijayapura, Kalaburagi and Bidar, to establish border check posts and deploy staff to ensure that all vehicles (driver, passengers, helper, cleaner) entering Karnataka are checked for compliance.

Karnataka on Saturday reported 1,987 new cases of COVID-19. Of these, 450 cases were from Bengaluru Urban, while numbers rose slightly in districts bordering Kerala and Maharashtra.

There were 37 more deaths and the test positivity rate (TPR) for the day was 1.43%.

A Central team of the Health Ministry despatched to help Kerala in COVID-19 management visited Alappuzha and reviewed the pandemic situation on Saturday.

The five-member team comprising Sujeet Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); Jain S.K., Adviser, NCDC, Pranay Verma, Deputy Director, NCDC; Ruchi Jain, a public health specialist; and Binoy S. Babu, Assistant Director, Directorate of Health Services, Kerala, interacted with District Collector A. Alexander and health officials.

The team called for strong measures to tackle disease spread in high-incidence areas within containment zones.

Officials said the teams were looking at testing, contact tracing, surveillance and containment, availability of hospital beds, logistics including ambulances, hospital-wise case fatality analysis, and progress of vaccination.

Onam dilemma

The State government faced the dilemma of balancing COVID-19 curbs on social life and commerce, and restoring livelihoods ahead of the Onam festival.

The State was under pressure from the Centre to shut down localities with an average TPR of above 10% - which would apply to 355 local government jurisdictions.

Travellers from Kerala also felt fenced-off from neighbouring States including Karnataka, with the demand for RT-PCR negative certificates from August 1.

The Kerala government was criticised by traders who said curbs had failed to bring down the TPR. The Kerala Vyapara Vyavasaya Ekopana Samathi (KVVES) has threatened to rebel against the restrictions and open shops on all days from August 9.

Kerala on Saturday reported 20,624 new cases and 80 recent virus deaths. The TPR for the day was 12.31%.

Andhra Pradesh reported 23 deaths and 2,058 infections on Saturday. The daily toll continued to rise.

Telangana recorded 621 cases and two more patients died.

Of the new infections, the highest of 80 were from Greater Hyderabad.

(With inputs from Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayawada and Hyderabad bureaus)

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