The Karnataka government has temporarily lifted restrictions on people entering Karnataka from Kerala. According to reports, the Karnataka government decided to temporarily lift restrictions following protests in Kasaragod due to difficulties in getting RT-PCR certificates.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan said that he supports the state government’s decision to allow entry for only travellers from Kerala testing negative for Covid-19.
He clarified that Karnataka is not trying to shut borders with Kerala. “We are not trying to close our border with Kerala but are only ensuring the safety of the people. I support the state government’s decision,” said Dr Ashwathnarayan.
Apart from the Deputy CM, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar also clarified the same. “The state government has not banned inter-state level travel between Karnataka and Kerala. As a precautionary measure, guidelines have been issued that travellers from Kerala entering Karnataka must mandatorily carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours,” he said.
The clarification comes after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the travel restrictions imposed by Karnataka.
Earlier, Vijayan wrote to the Centre stating that Karnataka’s move to close borders and block vehicles coming from Kerala was in violations of the Centre’s guidelines that no state should impose restrictions on interstate travel.
Vijayan also made this point out during one of his Covid-19 press briefings. “Karnataka government has decided that only those showing a negative RT-PCR certificate will be allowed to enter Karnataka. The state police chief has brought the matter to the notice of the Karnataka DGP,” he said adding that the Karnataka DGP assured that vehicles carrying essential items could be exempted.
On Tuesday, Kerala recorded 4,034 Covid cases, 4,823 recoveries and 14 deaths. The state collected 69,604 samples and the Test Positivity Rate has come down drastically to 5.80%.
Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka are the top three states in India’s total Covid-19 cases. While Maharashtra has seen a spike in daily cases since last week, Kerala is having fewer daily cases compared to January.
Few states have put certain restrictions on people travelling from states like Kerala and Maharashtra. States like New Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra among others have imposed some restrictions on travellers. While most states have asked for RT-PCR test certificates, some have asked for antigen test certificates as well.
Meanwhile, Indian expats in the United Arab Emirates are concerned as the Indian government said that all passengers irrespective of age and gender have to upload negative RT-PCR Covid-19 tests on the Air Suvidha portal before flying to India.
From February 23 midnight, the Indian government implemented a new Standard of Operations (SOPs) for all international passengers. According to reports, the government has clarified that children below the age of 10 have to test negative for Covid-19 before travelling to India. Many expats raised concerns as infants would also have to be tested for Covid. However, doctors in the UAE said that children can undergo nasal swab tests or throat swab tests. Doctors said it is safe for children and infants to undergo tests.
However, the other problem for expats is the prices of the RT-PCR tests. Reportedly, the price of RT-PCR tests is different at airports. In Kerala, the cost of the test is approximately Rs 1,500 – Rs 2,000. For a family travelling from UAE, this would be quite expensive. Families would have to splurge out more money on an RT-PCR test.