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K’taka mandates negative test report for all travellers from Maha’tra, Kerala

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
K’taka mandates negative test report for all travellers from Maha’tra, Kerala

Bengaluru: Irrespective of people’s vaccination status, the Karnataka government on Saturday made it mandatory for all, travelling from Maharashtra and Kerala, to produce a negative RT-PCR test report to enter its state boundary.

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The move, part of measures to increase pandemic related surveillance at entry points, follows reports of a rise in the number of Coronavirus cases in the neighbouring states. “It does not matter if a person travelling from these two states has taken the first vaccine dose or both jabs. The person is supposed to carry a Covid negative report, not older than 72 hours, to enter Karnataka,” said a senior official of the health department.

The revised travel guidelines, issued by additional chief secretary (health) Jawaid Akhtar, make it clear that the rule applies to all passengers, including those arriving by flights originating from the two states. Domestic Airlines have been asked to issue boarding passes to only people carrying negative RT-PCR certificates, while, railway and bus officials have also been requested to enforce the same.

The deputy commissioners of districts such as Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu and Mysuru that border Kerala and Belagavi, Vijayapura, Kalaburagi and Bidar that border Maharashtra have been directed to establish checkposts and deploy adequate staff to ensure that all vehicles entering Karnataka are checked. Only constitutional functionaries, healthcare workers and children aged below 2 years are exempted from the test rule.

Travellers with a family or medical emergency will be swabbed on arrival and their contact details will be taken, according to the guidelines. “The spread of Covid-19 during the second phase of the pandemic was attributed to interstate movement of people. While north Karnataka districts such as Belagavi saw higher cases following the arrival of people from Maharashtra, coastal districts, including Dakshina Kannada, saw more cases because of movement from Kerala,” said another senior health official. “Bengaluru, which witnesses heavy movement of people from these states, bore the brunt of the second wave. We don’t want to be caught off guard ahead of a possible third wave.”

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However, for students, who flock to Karnataka on regular bases, the state government has made some changes to its new rule of producing a negative RT-PCR report. While ruling out a complete exemption for these daily travellers, the revised circular says: “It is mandatory for students and others visiting Karnataka daily for education or business to undergo an RT-PCR test once in 15 days and possess the negative report.”

To note, Bengaluru reported around 15,000 cases in the first week of June. Currently, its weekly tally is 2,750, with the daily Covid count being in the range of 400-450. Overall, the city has recorded more than 12.2 lakh cases and 15,873 deaths, since the beginning of the pandemic.

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