Kasaragod: Karnataka on Monday closed its border roads with neighbouring Kerala citing the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the latter state. All but five roads leading to Kerala's northernmost Kasaragod district were closed on Monday.
Karnataka government had closed and even filled up roads with soil a few months ago when Kerala was in the early phase of its battle against COVID-19.
Those travelling from Kerala to Karnataka now need to mandatorily provide RT-PCR certificate showing COVID-free status. The test should have been taken not less than 72 hours before the Karnataka-bound trip. This order issued last week is meant only for travellers from Kerala and Maharashtra irrespective of the duration of their journey.
However, ambulances have been exempted from the new rule. Last time when the Karnataka administration had shut the roads to Kerala, several ambulances and private vehicles carrying gravely ill Keralites were turned back.
After Karnataka authorities blocked the road via Bavali checkpost in Kerala's Wayanad district, its officers denied entry for even goods vehicles. Following this, several people in the area protested by blocking vehicles with Karnataka registration from entering Kerala.
This sudden development created a traffic block on the highway. Later, the police from both states and local political leaders intervened and decided to allow passengers with COVID-negative certificates to cross the inter-state border.
Drivers and helpers on cargo vehicles must produce COVID-negative certificates every 15 days.
Karnataka government has also ordered hostels and colleges to maintain a list of students travelling to and from Kerala. It had also asked people to avoid unnecessary journey to Kerala.
The state has also directed all colleges, hostels and home-stays to ramp up testing and surveillance activities.
Anyone not complying with the norms will be moved to a designated quarantine room in their respective residential facilities.
TN steps up vigil at borders
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday said surveillance in districts bordering Kerala has been intensified and it has been made mandatory for all returnees by flight to compulsorily undergo RT-PCR test.
Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, apart from Kerala have recorded a surge in daily new cases of COVID-19.
Earlier, the Union Health Ministry had said both Kerala and Maharashtra cumulatively accounted for over 74 per cent of India's total active cases.
On the preventive measures, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said apart from surveillance camps, thermal screening will be carried out in the border districts and cluster testing will be done in Chennai, Coimbatore and Chengalpattu districts.
All the passengers arriving by flight should have RT-PCR negative certificates.
"Passengers from the UK, Brazil and South Africa will be subjected to TR-PCR test upon arrival," he said.