A few checkposts in Kerala witnessed vehicles piling up on Friday as the bordering state of Karnataka made renewed efforts to strictly enforce the COVID-19 regulations at the border. As part of its latest measures in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases in both states, Karnataka did not allow road travellers from Kerala to enter the state without a negative COVID-19 test certificate. Many travellers, who were going from Thalassery in Kerala to Mysuru, told TNM that they were stopped at the Bavali border check post in Karnatakaâ€™s Mysuru district.
On March 22, the Karnataka government had issued an order that makes it mandatory for travellers from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh to carry a negative COVID-19 test certificate if they are entering Karnataka. This order covers travel by air, rail and by personal transport on road. "Negative RT-PCR certificate not older than 72 hours shall be compulsorily produced by the passengers coming to Karnataka by flight, bus, train and personal transport," read the order.
In a meeting between district heads and the Karnataka Chief Secretary on Friday, it was decided to strictly enforce the regulations on road travellers from Maharashtra and Kerala. Accordingly, the police officials at the Karnataka border allowed only those with a negative COVID-19 test certificate to pass through.
Mysuru Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri reiterated that the rules will be enforced stringently. Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Charulatha Somal, too, said that checks for a negative COVID-19 test certificate were being carried out on those coming to Kodagu district from Kerala.
However, in Dakshina Kannada district, which also borders Kerala, the movement of traffic at the Talapady border (south of Mangaluru city) was not restricted. The border connects Dakshina Kannada with Kasaragod, the northern district in Kerala. A traveller, who went from Mangaluru to Manjeshwar on Friday at 1 pm, said that there were no officials checking for negative COVID-19 test certificates. "Only election officials carried out some checks. However, they did not ask for the COVID-19 test report,â€ť said the traveller who did not wish to be named.
TNM had earlier reported from the Talapady border on Sunday when a COVID-19 screening centre was set up there. However, officials said it was not mandatory to produce a negative COVID-19 test certificate to cross the border. Dakshina Kannada Superintendent of Police BM Laxmi Kumar told TNM that the restrictions were being enforced in other border checkposts with Kerala in rural parts of the district.
Belagavi DC K Harish Kumar, who recently took charge of the district, told TNM that the March 22 order (for Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh) was being strictly enforced at border checkposts on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border as well.
The rules for travellers from Kerala and Maharashtra is different from the announcement made on Thursday by Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar, who said that a negative COVID-19 test certificate will be mandatory for all interstate travellers coming to Bengaluru from April 1. The order for this rule is still awaited.