It has made Covid RT-PCR test on arrival or producing negative test reports mandatory for all those who travel from Kerala to Karnataka, including those who have come in the past 15 days. In a circular, health department additional chief secretary Jawaid Akhtar put the onus of ensuring returnees have tested and all protocols are followed on the institutional heads of apartments, educational institutions and owners of hostels, hotels and homestays.
According to the circular, the Covid negative reports that Kerala returnees produce on arrival should not be older than 72 hours.
“The outbreaks in any of these places occur only when the SoPs (standard operating procedures) are not well implemented. The accountability for implementing SoPs and outbreak response will be the responsibility of the heads of institutions,” said the circular.
The government, in particular, issued a set of norms to be followed in the educational institutions and hostels as a large number of students come from Kerala. As for the people who travel to Karnataka on a daily basis for work or to attend colleges, the state asked them to undergo RT-PCR test every fortnight.
Separately, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) asked all residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) and apartment representatives to keep a vigil on Kerala returnees. “There will not be any system in place to check Covid test reports at the airports or railway and bus stations. But we have asked all RWAs, apartments and educational institutions to keep a watch on those returning from Kerala and ensure they have tested for Covid,” said a BBMP official, who did not wish to be identified.
The announcement came in the backdrop of 40 students from a private nursing college in the city testing positive for Covid. Most of these students were from Kerala, according to health officials. The neighbouring state has been reporting a high number of cases for the past few weeks.