With Maharashtra seeing a noticeable uptick in Covid-19 cases, neighbouring Karnataka has made it mandatory for people arriving from the state to carry a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours.
The Health Department order, citing the near-doubling of Covid-19 cases from around 350 per day to 645 per day within a week in Maharashtra, said it was likely that the second wave of the pandemic had started there.
The order comes close on the heels of a similar restriction being put on arrivals from Kerala, which, too, has been consistently seeing a significant number of daily cases. The Kerala restriction came after several nursing students from the state, residing at a Bengaluru hostel, tested positive for the virus after returning to Karnataka.
According to the circular, signed by Health Secretary Jawaid Akhtar and based on a report of the Covid-19 technical advisory committee, more than 6,000 new cases were detected in Maharashtra on February 19—the highest in several months.
“All the returnees from Maharashtra shall produce negative RT PCR certificate which is not older than 72 hours… A negative RT-PCR certificate that is not older than 72 hours shall be compulsory for those arriving by flights/ buses/trains/personal transport,” it says.
The negative reports will be verified at the time of boarding buses, planes and trains. A random check of the reports will be conducted for persons arriving through toll gates by personal transport, it says.
“We are observing strict measures to prevent a second wave. The Brazil variant is not reported in our country. Covid is gradually decreasing, but nonetheless we need to be cautious,” said state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar.
The administrations of border districts have been also asked to take action for checking the test reports, he said.
Incidentally, though an RT-PCR report was made mandatory for people arriving from Kerala, no real measures to check them had been put in place.