Karnataka, Punjab, Kerala order 14-day quarantine after flight
Karnataka, Punjab, and Kerala have decided on a 14-day quarantine for domestic passengers, with variations. Karnataka’s is restricted to travellers from areas with a high incidence (such as Delhi); Punjab and Kerala have mandated a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the state on any means of transport.Updated: May 24, 2020 01:08 IST
A Delhi business executive who has an all-important business meeting in Bengaluru can now fly to the southern city -- domestic airline services are being restored from Monday -- but faces the prospect of a seven-day quarantine at a state-run institution and another seven days out of it.
To avoid it, travellers will have to provide a Covid-19 negative certificate from an Indian Council of Medical Research approved laboratory , based on a test and dated two days before the date of travel.
Karnataka, Punjab, and Kerala have decided on a 14-day quarantine for domestic passengers, with variations. Karnataka’s is restricted to travellers from areas with a high incidence (such as Delhi); Punjab and Kerala have mandated a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the state on any means of transport.
Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana are also considering quarantines.
While the Ministry of Civil Aviation last week allowed states to formulate their own procedures regarding passenger movement, civil minister Hardeep Puri hasrepeatedly emphasized that those taking domestic flights need not (and should not) be quarantined.
“We have clarified that if anyone has the Aarogya Setu app, it’s like a passport and you are safe; why should anybody want any quarantine,” Puri said in a Facebook live discussion on Saturday. His reference is to the government’s contact-tracing app that has been downloaded by 1.2 million people and which is recommended, although not mandatory, for anyone wishing to travel by plane, or train.
But the states do not seem to be listening.
In a statement on Saturday, Karnataka said passengers travelling from high incidence zones, such as Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, will have to stay under institutional (state-run) quarantine for a period of seven days and home quarantine for another seven days. Those flying in from states not considered high incidence zones will be home quarantined for 14 days. Medical professionals, members of the defence services, paramilitary and railway services will also be home quarantined for 14 days.
However, businesspersons travelling with a Covid-19 negative test certificate from an Indian Council of Medical Research-approved lab two days before the date of travel will not be quarantined.
An official in the Andhra Pradesh government told Hindustan Time that the state is considering following “the Karnataka line”. “We want to be a little careful about people coming from Ahmedabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi since we can’t quarantine a very large number of people,” the official said, “but we are yet to decide.”
The official added that the state was earlier considering taking swab samples of all those flying in, along with a form to collect their details. “In 24 hours, we would have informed them if they were at high risk and needed to go to a hospital, others could have been home quarantined. But after seeing the Karnataka order, we are reviewing how to go about it. We should know by Sunday morning.”
The Punjab government has also announced a 14-day home quarantine for those entering the state via flight, train or bus. Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh on Saturday said that rapid testing teams would check on all who have been home quarantined within a period of 14 days to ensure no “violation” and “strict compliance of rules”.
Those travelling to Kerala, an official in the chief minister’s office said will be home quarantined for 14 days. “If any of them show symptoms then they will be immediately sent to a hospital.”
A senior official in Telangana said that the matter is still “under discussion” .
Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel has asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to make a 14-day quarantine period at a state or paid facility mandatory for all those taking domestic flights.
It is unlikely that the civil aviation ministry will intervene although what’s needed would appear to be a universal set of guidelines applicable across India.
“States have been given the option to take their own decisions,” said an official in the aviation ministry who asked not to be named. “Many (states) were on board with opening the domestic airspace, we hope other states will realise that a mandatory quarantine will not make sense.”
Airlines such as Air India and Spicejet are planning to resume operations starting Monday. Spicejet will be flying passengers to and fro from 41 destinations. Air India will be operating 102 flights as of now. Spicejet will be operating 204 daily and 1431 flights every week. Representatives of both airlines said that a reasonable number of bookings have been made for Monday. “We expect very good bookings over the next few weeks,” an Air India representative said. “The response has been more than satisfactory.”
Vistara spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment and IndiGo representatives could not be reached for comment. A GoAir spokesperson said the airlines is set to resume operations from June 1.