Karnataka govt makes RT-PCR test mandatory for Kerala-bound passengers

February 17, 2021 | Updated 2:34 pm

Karnataka govt makes RT-PCR test mandatory for Kerala-bound passengers

In light of rising COVID-19 cases in Kerala, people who are traveling or have traveled from the state in the past two weeks are now required to mandatorily present COVID negative certificates, when they enter Karnataka. The Karnataka government has announced new restrictions for people traveling from Kerala and added that the negative COVID-19 certificates must not be older than 72 hours.

“Those who come from Kerala should get a negative RT-PCR test certificate, not older than 72 hrs. Nursing college students were from Kerala too,” said  Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar on Wednesday (Feb 17).

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The fresh restriction was announced after a cluster of 105 people were found COVID positive in a Bengaluru apartment complex. Residents at SNN Raj Lakeview apartment in Bommanahalli, Bengaluru tested positive for COVID-19. They had previously organised a program at the apartment and later tested positive during a routine COVID test. As many 96 people out of the 105 people found positive are over the age of 60 years.

Another cluster of 42 students was found COVID positive at Bengaluru’s Manjushree Nursing College in Karnataka. Upon inspection, the state government found that most people were from Kerala and the authorities moved the symptomatic patients to nearby hospitals.

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The restrictions are also in place for foreign travelers coming to Karnataka, irrespective of their COVID-19 vaccine status, as per the ANI report. Given other variants found in Brazil and South Africa, passengers from these two countries entering Karnataka are required to go through a compulsory RT-PCR test and 14-day quarantine. This is similar to the previous restriction placed on UK-bound travelers entering Karnataka in December 2020.

As per the new SOP released by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike commissioner, any area with 5 or more cases will be declared a containment zone, and after 7-day quarantine, residents or students in the containment zone will undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test. The state health minister added that the home department will be roped in to keep a firm check of people traveling from Kerala and he hopes that public vaccination against COVID-19 will begin from March, in Karnataka.

Nimhans hospital will carry out the genomic sequencing of the samples collected from Kerala-bound passengers. It must be noted that Karnataka in the last 24 hours reported 306 new cases and nearly half of the cases were reported from the two clusters mentioned above.