Kerala-Karnataka quarantine rules leave people confused

Confusion over Karnataka's quarantine rule for travellers from Kerala

Over 25,000 people arrive daily from multiple locations of Kerala to Bengaluru by six daily trains and state transport and private buses

Representative Image. Credit: DH File Photo

The rule mandating seven-day institutional quarantine for all travellers from Kerala to Karnataka has left thousands in a quandary.

Although arriving passengers were allowed to proceed after collecting their RTPCR test samples on Tuesday, confusion reigned about how the quarantine process would unfold in the days to come.

Over 25,000 people arrive daily from multiple locations of Kerala to Bengaluru by six daily trains and state transport and private buses. Thousands more travel by their private vehicles. Besides, there are 11 daily flights from Kochi, four from Thiruvananthapuram and two each from Kozhikode and Kannur.

Is the government prepared to arrange the logistics of institutional quarantine for this massive daily inflow? This is the question posed by many. “Travellers are very badly affected by this rule. I understand the gravity of the situation in Kerala, but people should have been given the option of home quarantine,” said R Muraleedhar of the Karnataka-Kerala Travellers’ Forum (KKTF).

Also read: Laxity in enforcement of norms aggravates Covid spread in Kerala homes

Even with a negative RTPCR/vaccination certificate, incoming travellers will have to undergo the quarantine process. “For those on emergency/short visits lasting one or two days, this will be very bad. During the previous entry bans, this relaxation was available,” said Muraleedhar.

Since the arrangements for institutional quarantine were not in place, those arriving at Bengaluru KSRTC bus stands were allowed to proceed after giving test samples. At Banaswadi Railway Station, the sample collection was introduced late Tuesday morning, by which time hundreds of passengers had arrived by the early morning trains.

Also read: Karnataka imposes 7-day institutional quarantine for people visiting from Kerala

At the Kempegowda International Airport, arriving passengers were only asked to produce negative RTPCR certificates. Till Tuesday evening, the government had not sent any communication on the institutional quarantine to the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).

Many wondered how practical would the rule be when road travellers could first enter Tamil Nadu from Kerala, get a certificate and enter Karnataka. Confusion also prevailed whether the rule was applied only for students and employees. However, the government later clarified that it applied to all.

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