Under fire, Karnataka set to relax quarantine rule for returnees | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Home minister Basavaraj Bommai (centre) dons a PPE suit during his visit to a Covid-19 hospital in Haveri on T…Read More
BENGALURU: With the mandatory 14-day institutional quarantine for returnees from other states turning out to be a logistical nightmare, the Karnataka government is contemplating reintroduction of home quarantine for asymptomatic returnees.
The new strategy, coming in the backdrop of traumatic experiences aired by returnees quarantined in hotels, is set to be rolled out in the next days. Revenue minister R Ashoka told TOI: “We will be revising quarantine-related guidelines. We will allow asymptomatic persons returning to Karnataka from other states to observe home quarantine. On arrival, all returnees will be screened and asymptomatic returnees will be hand-stamped and allowed for home quarantine.”
The government had received 1.9 lakh applications through Seva Sindhu portal from Karnataka residents, who have been stranded along with their families in other states after the national lockdown was announced, seeking entry into the state. While the government has no data on how many persons have entered the state after interstate online passes were issued, a section of the bureaucracy admitted that forcing returnees to pay for their 14-day hotel stay was not a prudent move. Moreover, thousands of returnees quarantined have been complaining of pathetic hotel conditions and low-quality food being served to them.
Those in home quarantine will be monitored: Ashoka
Ashoka said: “We are thinking of taking those with Covid symptoms to designated hospitals for treatment; the rest can go home and report if they develop symptoms. Of course, physical and technological surveillance will be done on those in home quarantine to ensure there are no violations. We will speak to the CM and a government order to this effect is expected.”
“The government anticipates a bigger challenge since lakhs of people would start coming since interstate movement of vehicles will be allowed in a fullfledged manner in the coming days. While it is difficult to handle such a huge crowd, the government cannot make arrangements for institutional quarantine for such a massive number,” said an official.
Health experts have suggested the government extend institutional quarantine only for those returning from high-risk states. But there is a flip side, a senior bureaucrat said, adding: “The list of high-risk states is revised every Monday and it may create more confusion.”
Complaints continue to pour in against institutional quarantine. “We are forced to stay in a hotel and pay huge sums for 14 days. But medical officers are not checking our health. Why can’t they let us go home,” said Archana M, a traveller.