14-day quarantine for domestic air passengers

No compulsory quarantine for business travellers on short trips

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday insisted that domestic air passengers arriving in Kerala go in for 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

The Chief Minister’s emphasis at his daily COVID-19 news briefing appeared to be in variance with the direction of the Centre, which had waived quarantine for domestic air travellers. Mr. Vijayan put a rider to his demand by stating that business travellers on short trips to Kerala did not require to go into quarantine. He said insisting so would be impractical and counterproductive. Domestic air travel was picking up by the hour. Business travellers here for a day or two were not required to go into mandatory quarantine unless they showed flu symptoms on arrival.

However, those arriving for more extended stays in Kerala have to isolate themselves for 14 days mandatorily. The same rule would apply to railway passengers. (An official later clarified that the Centre had given States sufficient latitude in altering their containment strategies and there was no variance as alleged.)

Mr. Vijayan said a bulk of arrivals in Kerala were from epidemic hotspots. Many were pregnant women and children and persons in the vulnerable age group. The arrivals accounted for the recent spike in the COVID-19 caseload. Nevertheless, Kerala would not close its doors on any person aspiring to return home.

“Whatever the numbers, Kerala will receive those wishing to return home with open arms,” he said.

‘No time for celebration’

Mr. Vijayan warned the public against taking the relaxation in lockdown restrictions for granted. The regulations were eased to restore some semblance of normalcy in life. However, it was not a time for celebration. He noted with dismay that people had ventured out into the open with aged parents and children in tow.

He said the State had entered a perilous period in the pandemic calendar. The resumption of economic activity meant a higher risk of community spread. Hence, people had to observe physical-distancing norms voluntarily. The police had reported 4,047 cases of people coming out in the open without masks. Soon, they would start prosecuting such violators. The police booked 100 persons for jumping quarantine.

He promised to intervene with media companies to save journalists from retrenchment during the pandemic-induced downturn.

He said the entertainment industry had to put off shooting of television serials, reality shows, films and other programmes until further notice. The government has allowed indoor shooting. But there should not be more than 10 persons at the location, including artists and allied staff.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:41:41 PM |

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