As thousands of Keralites from red zones in other parts of the country wait to enter the state, the state government has decided to regulate their entry. A decision to make 14-day institutional quarantine mandatory for those travelling from red zone districts was taken Tuesday, a day after the government allowed the entry of such people.
Of the 86,679 people who registered with a state government portal, Norka Roots, for an entry pass, 43.17 per cent are from red zones. Of the 45,814 people who got a pass, 19,476 are from red zones. So far, around 8,600 people from COVID-19 hotspots have reached Kerala since Monday, when restrictions were eased.
After a review meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters Friday that 3,216 people who arrived from hotspots on Thursday have been moved to institutional quarantine. “Others who reached Kerala from red zones before Thursday are being traced and shifted to institutional quarantine,” he said.
Amid reports that issuance of entry pass has been slowed down from Thursday, the Chief Minister said, “Issue of entry pass has not been suspended, it has been regulated. Those from red zones would be directly moved to quarantine from inter-state checkposts. Those who haven’t registered their names would not be allowed to enter the state. Some have managed to reach state boarders and have been trying sneak in. Without mandatory examination, none would be allowed to cross the state border.”
At present, those who want to enter Kerala from other parts of country have to hire a taxi or use their own vehicle to reach the state borders. From the borders, they need to hire another vehicle if they are not using a private one.
On Thursday, several elderly people and pregnant women had to wait for hours at inter-state checkposts to get clearance. The Congress-led Opposition in the state targeted the government for its “reluctance” to send buses to neighbouring states to facilitate the return of those stranded.
The Chief Minister said the Union government has been requested to allot a special train to bring back stranded students from Kerala. Chief Ministers of all states concerned have been informed and it is expected that a special train would be allowed. Efforts are on to get students to Delhi and arrange a special train for them, he said.