File photo: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan's letter objected to Karnataka's requirement for mandatory Covid-19 negative tests from visitors. (HT_PRINT)
File photo: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan's letter objected to Karnataka's requirement for mandatory Covid-19 negative tests from visitors. (HT_PRINT)

Kerala CM writes to PM over Karnataka’s mandatory Covid-19 test for visitors

  • There are just four entry points connecting Kerala and the coastal districts of Karnataka and are always busy due to daily trips by truck and bus drivers as well as students who live across the borders.
By Sharan Poovanna | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 12:49 PM IST

The governments of Karnataka and Kerala on Tuesday got into a spat over mandatory Covid-19 negative certificates required for people entering the former. Kerala CM wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging the restriction were inconveniencing students, patients and trucks carrying essential supplies from Kerala to Karnataka, which was against the Central government issued guidelines.

“Many people, mainly students, trucks carrying essential commodities and patients going for medical treatment are put to undue hardship at the state borders due to this. Kind note may be taken of the fact that imposing restrictions on inter-state movement of people by states is contrary to the instructions of the Government of India, which are at present holding the field,” Vijayan said in his letter.

The letter comes days after Karnataka mandated Covid-19 negative certificates for visitors to check the rise in infections, seen in neighbouring states like Maharashtra and Kerala. Karnataka has seen a steady rise in cases, following which the decision to deploy marshals at wedding halls has been taken among other steps to avoid another lockdown. Karnataka reported 383 fresh Covid-19 positive cases on Tuesday, taking the toll to 948,849 and the death toll has climbed to 12,303 with four deaths reported on Tuesday. All four deaths were from Bengaluru, which saw 240 fresh cases of infections on Tuesday. The cluster at SJR Watermark apartments, an upscale housing complex in Bellandur area, doubled to 20, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) said.

There are at least two other clusters in Bengaluru, one with over 100 positive cases.

In protest of the requirement of Covid-19 negative certificates to enter Karnataka, drivers and other travellers staged protests at the Talpady border that connects Kerala and Dakshina Kannada district, about 350 km from Bengaluru. There are just four entry points connecting Kerala and the coastal districts of Karnataka and are always busy due to daily trips by truck and bus drivers as well as students who live across the border.

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Karnataka health minister later issued a clarification in response to Kerala’s objection. “Karnataka has not prohibited inter-state travel between Karnataka and Kerala. However, as a precautionary measure, guidelines have been issued that travellers entering Karnataka from Kerala must mandatorily possess a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours,” said Dr K Sudhakar on Twitter.

The state has so far vaccinated (first and second dose) 724,515 people, covering 71% of its target of 1,019,386.

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