COVID: No restrictions on inter-state travel in Karnataka
Bengaluru, Feb 22: The Karnataka government on Monday clarified that it had not imposed any restrictions on inter-state travel, but has mandated RT-PCR certificates not older than 72 hours for those arriving in the state from neighbouring Kerala and Maharashtra.
Health Minister K Sudhakar, while stating this, also cautioned people against negligence towards observing protocol and of stricter steps if the number of cases increase and said marshals would be deployed to monitor weddings as they were taking place without following any norms or guidelines.
"We have not imposed any restrictions on passengers traveling from Kerala, Maharashtra or any other state to Karnataka. Let me clarify this, because other states may have got a wrong opinion....For inter-state travelers there is no restriction," Sudhakar said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said Karnataka has made it mandatory for people arriving in the state to have a negative RT-PCR certificate that is not older than 72 hours.
This measure was taken last week for those arriving by flights, buses, trains, personal transport from neighboring Maharashtra and Kerala, following the recent spike in COVID cases in those states. To a question on people staging protests at the Kerala borders demanding withdrawal of "restrictions", Sudhakar said no restrictions had been imposed, but checking negative test reports could have caused some inconvenience to travelers.
"According to Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner, there is movement of about 2-3 lakh people between both states every day. If test reports of such a large number of people has to be done, it definitely causes inconvenience, so we may not be able to do it 100 per cent, but we are trying random at least," he said. Sudhakar also said he would speak to the Health Ministers of Kerala and Maharashtra in a couple of days and request them to issue strict circulars to travelers in their states.
"Many people travelling from those states don't have information. We have issued a circular in our state. But if circulars are issued in those states also, it will benefit both," the minister said.
He noted that events, fairs, marriages and agitations with large crowds were being held despite repeated appeals by the government, all of which were against the guidelines issued by the COVID technical advisory committee.
"Civic sense and responsibility is also important. If we don't understand it, in the days to come, if the cases increase, you (people) will be responsible for forcing the government to take strict measures. At a few places in Maharashtra there is lockdown...you decide if such a situation has to come in Karnataka," he said.
The Minister said marshals would be deputed at weddings to ensure that not more than 500 people gather at the events, wear masks and maintain social distancing.
Further, if five people in a place test positive, the area would be designated as a containment zone, he said, adding there is already a circular in this regard. Stating that more than 4.24 lakh health department employees and 1.20 lakh front line warriors have been administered the first dose of Covid vaccine,Sudhakar said the government was cleaning up registration data by eliminating duplicate entries.
"We have a target of 80 per cent and 90 per cent coverage for Health department staff and front line warriors respectively by the end of this month. All officials have been requested to get the dose." "Bengaluru is lagging in vaccination... instructions have been given to all districts to achieve 80 per cent target," he said.