Updated: March 26, 2021 8:04:54 am
Beginning April 1, all interstate travellers to Bengaluru will need to furnish a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test report, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar announced on Thursday.
“With cases likely to increase further in the coming days and after observing that interstate travellers account for over 60 per cent of cases in Bengaluru, it has been decided that all such persons have to arrive with a negative RT-PCR report from April 1,” Sudhakar said. He added that the rule will be applicable to those, including permanent residents of the city, who arrive in the city from any place outside Karnataka.
The move comes a day after the Union Health Ministry identified Bengaluru Urban as the only city outside Maharashtra to be among the ten with the highest active Covid-19 caseload. According to figures released by the state government, the Karnataka capital reported 11,520 active cases, amounting to nearly 70 per cent of the state’s total caseload.
After a meeting with senior officials from the Health department and BBMP (including joint commissioners) to review containment measures in the city, Sudhakar detailed how cases spiked even as he urged all stakeholders, including residents, to adopt stricter measures to keep cases in check.
Till now, only travellers from Maharashtra, Kerala, and Punjab, which have been driving the ongoing Covid surge, were required to furnish negative TR-PCR reports on arrival in Karnataka. Officials clarified that those failing to produce negative reports will be tested at entry points and asked to be in quarantine till they get a negative result.
“Besides enhanced testing, we have also decided to (re)introduce quarantine stamping and monitoring using the Quarantine watch app,” the minister said after the meeting. Further, it was decided that BBMP marshals will be deployed at markets, bus stations, theatres, marriage and convention halls and across school and college campuses to enforce Covid-19 guidelines.
In view of campaigning and related political activities ahead of bypolls to Maski, Basavakalyan (Assembly seats), and Belgaum (Lok Sabha constituency), Sudhakar said he intends to meet the State Election Commissioner and ask him to issue appropriate orders to minimise crowds.
Earlier in the day, the minister visited Vanivilas and Minto Hospitals to review their preparedness to combat the second wave of the pandemic. “In the wake of uptick in positive cases among pregnant women, I have instructed hospitals to strictly follow all precautionary measures, including use of PPE kits for doctors and paramedical staff,” Sudhakar said, adding that official orders regarding the new rules will be issued by the BBMP commissioner.
Bengaluru Urban has reported 15,599 cases since the beginning of March, while 84 patients succumbing to the infection during the same time. According to BBMP war room data, the city has 22 active containment zones, all of them identified on or after March 12.
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