The Karnataka government has made COVID-19 testing mandatory for all persons returning from six high COVID-19-prevalence states between day five and day seven of their arrival. This is part of the state’s new testing policy issued on May 21.
Persons arriving from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh will have to be tested even if they are asymptomatic, the government order said.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had on May 18 restricted the entry of people from three of these states — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat — on account of a number of people returning from there testing positive recently. This decision has resulted in the stalling of 21,607 requests by people currently located in these states to enter Karnataka.
Under the current testing policy, all persons returning from other states to Karnataka are screened for symptoms, and those found to be ill are tested for COVID-19 and sent to hospital quarantine. Those who are asymptomatic are sent to institutional quarantine for 14 days and tested before release. Pool testing of five samples is conducted for asymptomatic persons returning from states that have not been declared high-prevalence ones.
In Thursday’s order, the government stated that asymptomatic people “shall be tested once between day 5 and day 7 of arrival from high prevalence states (as notified by the state government from time to time)”.
Since May 8, when people began returning from other states, the average COVID cases emerging daily in Karnataka rose to around 70 compared to 20 earlier, with the majority being returnees from states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government’s decision to stop the entry of people from three states has resulted in stalling of 21,607 requests. “We have decided not to allow people from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu till May 31. They will be allowed in stages,” the CM said on Monday.
At the time of the announcement, around 75 per cent approvals for entry into Karnataka — through the government portal Seva Sindhu — had been accorded to requests from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, according to data from the Karnataka government.
Out of total approvals for entry of 1.26 lakh requests from various states since May 1, 95,261 approvals were granted until May 18 to requests from Maharashtra (67,518) and Tamil Nadu (27,743). As many as 2,157 requests for approval from Gujarat were also cleared.
Now, 21,607 requests are pending for these states, according to state officials. These include 10,568 requests from Maharashtra and 10,351 from Tamil Nadu.