The Karnataka government on Friday tweaked its quarantine requirements and has dropped the seven-day institutional quarantine for international travellers. Until now, international returnees had to go through seven days of institutional quarantine, with the exception of those above 60 years of age, children under the age of 10, pregnant women and people with terminal illnesses who were allowed to self-isolate at home.
But this rule has now been changed. Asymptomatic international returnees to Karnataka will undergo a 14-day home quarantine instead.
Those who are symptomatic will be sent to COVID-19 centres for testing. Their swabs will be taken, one for the rapid antigen test and two others (throat and nasopharyngeal) for the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Those who test positive for the antigen test will either be asked to go for home isolation or will be shifted to a hospital for treatment depending on their condition.
Even those who test negative for the rapid antigen test will have to take the RT-PCR test. After this is found to be negative as well, the travellers will be advised 14-day home quarantine. But if they test positive, they could be shifted to a hospital treating COVID-19 patients.
The cost of the tests will be borne by the passengers and it will be Rs 700 for a rapid antigen test and Rs 2,000 for an RT-PCR test.
Business or short-term travellers, students writing examinations in Karnataka, and those who are carrying a negative RT-PCR report will be exempted from quarantine norms.
Those who are landing in Karnataka and travelling to other states will be allowed to proceed if they are asymptomatic.
The orders were issued by Karnataka's Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar on Friday and are effective immediately, replacing previous government orders.
Karnataka currently has over 77,000 active COVID-19 cases of which 33,308 are in Bengaluru.