Karnataka has once again started regulating entry into the state through its borders with Kerala near Kasaragod and Wayanad districts on Monday. This as Keralaâ€™s COVID-19 caseload continues to remain high. Persons travelling from Kerala are allowed to enter Karnataka only on producing a COVID-19 negative certificate. Officials have started checking in the borders.
As per a Government of Karnataka circular dated February 16, â€śAll those arriving from Kerala and checking into hotels, resorts, hostels, home stays, dormitories etc shall compulsorily produce a negative RT-PCR certificate that is not older than 72 hours.â€ť
According to reports, out of 16 roads that connect Kasaragod and Dakshina Kannada district, five major roads will be opened and people will be allowed to cross the border after thorough checking. However, Muthanga check post, that connects Karnataka is not yet closed. All other small roads will be closed soon. Karnataka has tightened regulations along the Wayanad border at the Bavali check post.
As per the February 16 government order, day scholars traveling from Kerala to schools and colleges in any part of Karnataka will be subjected to an RT-PCR test every fortnight.
Protesting against the regulations, Congress and Indian Union of Muslim League workers in Kerala had started blocking vehicles from Karnataka at Thalappady in Kasaragod. They are staging a sit-in protest on the road.
In March last year, Karnatakaâ€™s decision to seal its borders with Kerala, came in for criticism after several patients living in Kasaragodâ€™s border villages struggled to get treatment. At least two patients died after being turned away at the Karnataka border. Several people in Keralaâ€™s northern district travel across the border to Mangaluru, especially for education and medical services.
"They are demanding an RT-PCR test, which costs around Rs 2700. How can a common man afford it? The situation that trouble people should be avoided," Kasaragod MP Rajmohan Unnithan told the media.
IUML leader Ashraf also slammed Karnatakaâ€™s regulation citing the deaths of Kerala patients last year. â€śThey brought this new rule on February 16. But later they postponed it as there was an event here in which Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath was taking part. Now they have suddenly implemented it. Many students have exams and there are medical emergencies," Ashraf said.
Reacting to the issue Kerala BJP state president K Surendran defended the Karnataka governmentâ€™s move, stating that all states are worried about the safety of its residents. He also pointed out that Kerala has the highest COVID-19 cases in India.
As of February 21, Kerala has 58,313 active COVID-19 cases. Border districts like Kasaragod has 2129 active cases, while Wayanad has 1909 COVID-19 cases presently.