Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Sadananda Gowda announced on Tuesday that he has once again tested negative for COVID-19 after undergoing a test following his return to Bengaluru from New Delhi.
The test was conducted hours after the controversy over Sadananda Gowda's refusal to go into institutional or home quarantine.
"Happy to share the information that I again underwent COVID19 test, which is found to be negative. Appealing the fellow citizens to take enough precautions to avoid infections. Please wear face mask and maintain social distancing. Please help us to help you," the minister tweeted.
Sadananda Gowda, a former Karnataka Chief Minister, said that he was exempted from institutional quarantine since he is now a minister in the central government. But following uproar over this, the Karnataka government announced that exemptions were allowed for ministers in an addendum to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued last week for those returning to the state from outside.
"Pained at an attempt to make my official visit to Bengaluru a controversial one despite I being a Union Minister handling Pharmaceutical Dept, an essential wing fighting COVID19. I followed the SOP, which exempts Ministers, Officers on duty from quarantining," he added.
The addendum detailing the exemption was drafted on Saturday but it was only made public on Monday, after the controversy over Sadananda Gowda's refusal to quarantine himself.
The state government's SOP issued last week had said returnees from states with high COVID-19 caseload -- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh -- entering the state in trains, flights, buses or private vehicles will be kept in institutional quarantine for seven days.
In special cases like business persons coming for urgent work, the quarantine period would be waived if they carry a report from an ICMR-approved laboratory stating they had tested negative for COVID-19. This report cannot be more than 2 days older than the date of travel.