The State government on Thursday clarified that persons seeking to enter Kerala from red zone localities in other regions in the country would have to go into institutional quarantine for a mandatory period of 14 days.
They would have to pay for their food and board. Those who attempted to dodge quarantine would face prosecution under the provisions of the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020.
The government had earlier insisted that returnees from other States in the country, including red zones, need sequester themselves in a government facility only for seven days.
Officials clarified that the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra had necessitated the shift in the containment strategy.
Pregnant women, children exempted
The government has exempted pregnant women and children under the age of 14 from the regulation. They could isolate themselves at home.
However, the government would use a combination of geo-location signalling phone applications, daily visits by health workers and police officers and monitoring by members of local self-government to ensure that the returnees remained healthy and isolated adequately at their homes.
Kerala would accept people from other States only if it had space to quarantine them. The government has decentralised the quarantine network to accommodate arrivals in facilities in their home district.
So far, the government has allowed 6,000 of them into the State and has sequestered them in hostels and lodges commandeered by the State. Health workers would test them for COVID-19, and they would shift infected persons to hospitals.
70,000 seek pass
An estimated 70,000 people have requested passes from Department of Non-Resident Keralite (NoRKA) to enter Kerala through six designated border check-posts.
The government has issued passes to 38,000 of them. It has staggered their date and time for entry to prevent tight lines and long queues of vehicles in border localities.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sanction a special train for Keralite students stranded in different States in nrth India.
He requested that the non-stop train commence the journey from New Delhi on a pre-set date so students would have sufficient time to reach the capital and board it for their ride home.
Mr. Vijayan also asked authorities of the Jamia Millia University in New Delhi to give more time to students to vacate their college hostels. Forty students from Kerala, including women, are currently put up in the varsity hostel.
Officials said nearly 1,200 students from Kerala are stranded in New Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana and the State was extremely concerned about their safety and well being. Their parents were in touch with the CM’s office to ensure they were fed and adequately housed.
They said Keralites reaching the State through land borders should expect some measure of delay at check-posts.