RT-PCR -ve report now must to enter B’luru
Amid a continuous surge in Covid-19 cases, Karnataka health minister K Sudhakar on Thursday announced that travellers to Bengaluru from any state will require a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test report (with the test having been taken within the previous 72 hours) from April 1.
The minister said the decision was taken for Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits as the city continued to report the highest number of cases in the state. On Thursday, Bengaluru registered 1,623 fresh cases out of the total of 2,523 from across the state.
“There is a spike in cases every day. It is increasingly found in passengers arriving in the city from other states. As of now, the requirement (of a test report) is for those coming from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh (to Bengaluru). But going forward, it is applicable to visitors from all states ,“ the minister said.
However, only visitors from Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Chandigarh need negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test reports for travelling to other parts of Karnataka.
Government officials said people without test reports will be tested, and asked to be in quarantine till the results are available. They also added that the requirement isn’t just for visitors but also Bengaluru and Karnataka residents who travel outside the state and then return.
Stating that 60% of the cases in Bengaluru have a history of inter-state travel, Sudhakar said the government will revive the practice of stamping the hands of those who need to undergo home isolation. “Many young people who are supposed to undergo home isolation are freely walking around because they are asymptomatic 9and there is no way of knowing they need to be in quarantine). We need to curb this,” he said.
The government has also decided to resume its Quarantine Watch application which was suspended after the state witnessed a drop in Covid cases, to monitor those undergoing home isolation.
On Thursday, the State Disaster Management Board has directed the commissioner of BBMP, all deputy commissioners, and all authorities concerned to prevent public gatherings during upcoming festivals such as Holi and Good Friday.
On Wednesday, the state government proposed imposing strict penalties on establishments such as hotels, departmental stores and organisers of public events or large gatherings who fail to enforce safety protocols.
In a late night order, the government announced a fine of ₹5,000-10,000 on all establishments found violating safety protocols such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.
“The owners of the establishment will be responsible for: a) ensuring compulsory wearing of masks and social distancing; b) enforcing restrictions on the number of persons to be allowed,” the order read.
As a precautionary measure, the government has limited the number of wedding attendees to 500 in open spaces and 200 in closed areas; it has permitted a gathering of 50 to 100 people in birthday parties and funerals, depending on whether they are held in enclosed or open spaces; and it has restricted the number of attendees to 500 at religious and political events.
There are currently 18,207 active coronavirus cases in Karnataka. As many as 12,471 people have succumbed to the virus while 978,478 patients have recovered. According to the Union health ministry, 3,044,524 (a little over three million) vaccine doses have been administered in the state so far.