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At Bengaluru Govt Quarantine: No COVID-19 Test Yet, Shared Rooms

Returnees staying at govt quarantine complained that they hadn’t been tested even 5 days after arrival.

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COVID-19
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Nineteen people who arrived on a special train from New Delhi to Bengaluru on Thursday, 14 May, were sent back after they refused to go into institutional quarantine. Days later, the other passengers, who have agreed to enter the government quarantine facilities, are regretting the decision.

The issues are plenty. Some passengers are complaining about the lack of hygiene, while others claim they were not tested for COVID-19, even after five days of their arrival.

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‘Being Ignored as We Are Staying in Free Facility’

Returnees staying at govt quarantine complained that they hadn’t been tested even 5 days after arrival.

A 26-year-old IT professional housed in the government boys' hostel near Magadi Road said that he had opted for government quarantine believing the quality of hygiene and sanitation would be better.

“Nothing was ready when we reached, they were opening the locks when we got off the bus. They only gave us a blanket few days ago and handed us a broom and said clean it. Moreover, they have made us stay with even as many as five people in a room. We have to clean both the shared bathroom and room ourselves. They did not even give us phenyl or any cleaning agent. We spent our own money to buy it”, he said.
Karnataka returnee

“People staying in hotels have been tested, but they are neglecting us. On Saturday, a man complained of throat pain, but he was still not tested despite taking him to the hospital. After we made a scene, he was taken back to the hostel. I at least expected the beds to be segregated and far apart but it is very crowded,”

Twenty-four people are currently at the quarantine facility. Apart from a temperature check at the railway station, they have not undergone any other test. When the returnees enquired, authorities said they hadn't undergone any COVID-19 test because they are asymptomatic.

However, a government order issued on 14 May had stated otherwise.

Returnees staying at govt quarantine complained that they hadn’t been tested even 5 days after arrival.

‘Worried About my Son’s Health’

A mother travelling with her 10-year-old and staying in the same hostel, said that despite rules stating clearly that kids aged under 10 years would be tested and sent home if negative, there had been no tests done even as a special case.

  • Undercooked food allegedly thrown by those in quarantine

    (Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

“I had no clue about the mandatory quarantine, I only heard other passengers talk when I boarded the train at Hyderabad. If I had known I would have stayed back, not put my son at risk. A man also fell sick but the response was poor from the authorities. The toilets are very dirty and the food is also very bad. They are giving boiled rice for all meals and many people are unable to eat it,” she said.

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Returnees also took to social media to air their grievances. Some people who wanted to shift out to paid hotel stay were reportedly denied by the police stationed outside.

She added that she opted for the free facility as she could not afford the paid one. “We are also struggling for three months, no job security. In this case, how can we pay Rs 1000-3000 for 14 days. We cannot afford it. At the same time, the government facility should be better,” said the mother of the 10-year-old.

Situation at Paid Facilities

A woman on the train from Delhi and staying at a hotel said that RT-PCR test for her and her family members was done on Saturday, 16 May evening, albeit a few days late.

“Till now, Monday, we have not got the test results. But some people were taken to the hospital via ambulance today. There is no clarity on what is happening. My parents are old and should be sent home if they test negative, but everything is happening slowly", she said.

In a paid facility at Mangaluru, returnees who had reached on 12 May, received the test results by Friday. Those who were asymptomatic and belonging to the special category were sent to home quarantine, their fellow passengers reported.

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Many Vent Anger on Social Media

Social media users, returning on repatriation flights, have documented their experience staying in a star hotel in Bengaluru. A stark difference in the quality of food being provided as well as the speed at which protocol was followed and tests conducted, can be noted.

‘Testing Only on 10th Day’

The Karnataka state health department’s guidelines read that all asymptomatic passengers would be tested ‘immediately on arrival’ and would be sent for home/institutional quarantine depending on their health condition.

Speaking to The Quint, BBMP Chief Health Officer Dr Vijayendra, said that ‘testing would only be one for specific categories of patients immediately and on the 10th day of quarantine for everyone else’ even though the government order says nothing about this.

“We are testing only the pregnant, children under 10 years and those with compromised immunity due to health conditions, immediately. And they are being sent to home quarantine with conditions. It is a long process, we have started testing people, it will continue for next few days,” he maintained.

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