Karnataka asks travellers from high-risk states to pay Rs 650 for mandatory Covid-19 test
The Karnataka government on Friday issued an order whereby passengers coming in by air or trains from high-risk states will have to pay Rs 650 per person to get themselves mandatorily tested for Covid-19. The government said that it had decided on this move as there was a limitation on the institutional quarantine capacity available in the state.
Earlier, all the passengers from high-risk states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Delhi were quarantined at hotels and lodges and a Covid-19 test was carried out on either the 5th or 7th day. Till now the passengers were paying only for the institutional quarantine - according to desired hotels and slabs - while the test was free.
Health department officials though clarified that while there was no change in quarantine policies with people coming from high-risk states having to undergo one week of institutional quarantine and if their test was asymptomatic then they would be sent for one more week of home quarantine. For this, the state has tied up with private labs so that their capacity could be utilised to the maximum. Samples will be tested by the pooling method - five samples in one pool as per ICMR guidelines.
There was no clarity on what would be done in case the incoming person by train or air could not afford the fee of Rs 650 for testing. The order also said that airport authorities and railways will provide necessary space for establishing swab collections kiosks and centres free of cost.
Whenever a passenger is detected positive, after the test, the jurisdictional district health and family welfare officer shall be informed for necessary movement of the patient to a hospital, contact tracing and tracking. Outside of Bangalore the deputy commissioners of the remaining 29 districts shall link ICMR approved private labs with passengers and follow similar protocols.