Days after the Karnataka government decided to ramp up checks for COVID-19 negative test results for those travelling from Kerala and Maharashtra, the government placed a similar restriction on those entering the state from Punjab and Chandigarh as well. Travellers from these two states must now mandatorily carry a negative RT-PCR test certificate while entering Karnataka. The directive comes in light of the rising number of cases in the state, with Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar stating on Sunday that a second wave of the coronavirus has begun.
Though the minister said that there is no need to implement a complete or semi-lockdown in the state, he stressed on the importance of having strict restrictions in place. According to the governmentâ€™s notice, from March 25 onwards, those coming to Karnataka from Punjab and Chandigarh must carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours while entering the state. The rule applies to those travelling by flight, bus, train and road, and will be strictly monitored by officials.
"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. This will be applicable for all the flights originating from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh," the circular reads.
However, exemptions will be given to constitutional functionaries, healthcare professionals, children below the age of two and those in dire situations (death in the family, emergency medical treatment etc). In these cases, the person must submit a swab sample for testing, along with their details, upon arrival in Karnataka.
Though the state had earlier placed restrictions on travel between Kerala and Karnataka, and even set up screening and testing facilities at the border. However, uncertainty about the rules on either side of the border, in some cases, led to people entering the state without proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar asked more people to step forward to receive the vaccine against COVID-19. He also said that protocol such as maintaining social distance and wearing masks must be followed in public. On March 17, Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa announced that the government plans to open three new COVID-19 Care Centres in Bengaluru, in light of the rising number of cases there.