The Karnataka government on Friday, 29 May passed an order making it mandatory for all international passengers and those travelling from high-risk states by trains and planes to pay Rs 650 and undertake COVID-19 tests.
As of now, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh are categorised as high-risk states, but this is subject to change.
Health department officials clarified there is no change in the quarantine policy for the incoming passengers.
Notably these tests will be carried out by pooling methods (5 samples in one pool as per national guidelines) in real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kits in private labs.
The order said this testing will be carried out to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the state and the capacity available with private labs will be utilized to the maximum extent to do the tests within 24 hours of them reaching Karnataka. If the tests are negative, people will be allowed to go to their homes and be in home quarantine for 7 days.
The order by the Health and Family Welfare and Ayush Services Commissionerate mentioned that this is being done as there is a limitation on the institutional quarantine capacity available with BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) and various other districts.
The crisis in the hospitality industry has arisen due to large scale exodus of migrant workers back to their homes.
The order further said that in a meeting conducted with private labs it has been decided to assign them various categories of passengers.
For Bengaluru, Xcyton Diagnostics will handle all air passengers, while interstate passengers will be tested by six labs—- Neuberg Anand Reference Laboratories, Cancyte Technologies Private Limited, Aster Lab, Narayana Hrudayalaya Lab, Vydehi Hospital and Lab andSyngene International Limited.
The order mentions that the airport authorities and railways will provide necessary space for establishing swab collection kiosks or centres free of cost.
The order has also mentioned four IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers as nodal officers for three category of patients.
Meena Nagaraj: international passengers
M. Manivannan: domestic air passengers
K Dayanand: inter-state train passengers
The officers will be responsible for the establishment and operationalization of above mentioned testing methodology and necessary follow-ups, the order further said.
It has also been stated that when a passenger tests positive after the test, the jurisdictional District Health and Family Welfare Officer/ Chief Health Officer of the BBMP will be informed for necessary movement of patient to hospital, contact tracing and tracking.
The Deputy Commissioner of the remaining 29 districts has been asked to set up similar ties with ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) approved private labs with passengers as done above for BBMP or rest of Bengaluru Urban.
(This article was first published on The News Minute and has been republished in an arrangement.)