The Karnataka government Thursday decided to restrict air travel from five states — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan — and incoming passengers by road from three — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat — in view of the rising Covid-19 tally. Trains that are already running will continue to do so.
“This is in view of several passengers from these states testing positive for Covid-19 in Karnataka, leading to a rise in fresh cases in the state in the last few days,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said after a Cabinet meeting held in Bengaluru.
We hereby clarify that there is no ban on flights and trains to Karnataka. But we have requested the Central govt to restrict the number of flights from high risk states.
While entry by road stays prohibited, trains that are already running will continue to do so.
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) May 28, 2020
He further added that asymptomatic cases from these states have burdened quarantine facilities in the state. “The sudden hike in numbers has also resulted in tests taking more time to be completed. These restrictions will be in place for the next few days,” Madhuswamy said.
However, those seeking to travel to these states from Karnataka will be allowed to do so, officials clarified.
Over the past few days, most fresh Covid-19 cases in Karnataka have been reported in people who returned from other states. While the total crossed the 1000-mark only on May 15, over two months since the first case was confirmed in Bengaluru on March 9, the number has risen to 2,533 as on Thursday.
Not a complete flight ban
A couple of hours after his media briefing post the Cabinet meeting, Madhuswamy clarified that the Karnataka government “had not announced a complete ban” on flights from the five states, and instead decided to “lessen air traffic” to the state.
“The state government has requested the Civil Aviation Ministry to reduce the number of flights from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to Karnataka, in view of the high number of Covid-19 Cases prevalent there,” Madhuswamy clarified.
“We have written to the Centre requesting to take steps to lessen (incoming) air traffic to the state, with the sacred intention that there may not be adequate quarantine facilities if there is huge turnout in a short span of time,” he added.
He reiterated that “restrictions” have also been imposed on people coming by road from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat to ensure adequate quarantine facilities.
According to statistics shared by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, 95 out of the 115 fresh cases reported on Thursday are from inter-state passengers alone, the most continuing to be from Maharashtra.
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