The Tamil Nadu government has informed the Madras High Court that the existing format of obtaining e-pass will be replaced with an e-registration system for persons travelling into the state from outside amid the coronavirus pandemic. Advocate General Vijay Narayan informed the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy on the change in protocols being planned by the state government.
According to the new plan, applicants will only be required to fill in basic details in the e-registration system for the purpose of contact tracing. However, e-pass procedure will continue to be in place for travelling to hill stations in the state. Under this existing protocol, e-passes to hill stations would be issued only to those who have an address in the area and not to tourists. This will be continued due to restricted medical facilities available in hill stations.
The judges then directed the state government to write to the Union government with respect to the continuance of e-pass in hill stations and make the new protocols public.
According to reports, the Justices observed that people were not being cautious and were moving about in public places without face masks and proper physical distancing as if the pandemic was over. The Chief Justice reportedly said that people should feel safe only after the vaccine is developed.
In Tamil Nadu, an auto generated e-pass is mandatory for all travellers coming into the state. The proposed e-registration system will make the process easier for travellers.
As of October 13, Tamil Nadu has 43,239 active COVID-19 cases. So far, over six lakh persons have been discharged from hospitals after having been treated for COVID-19. The state has also recorded 10,371 fatalities due to COVID-19. The most number of active cases are in Chennai, with 13,704 persons who have contracted COVID-19. Since the beginning of April, 84,88,503 samples have been tested for COVID-19 in the state.