Karnataka wants flights restricted from 5 states, bars road traffic from 3 | India News

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May 28, 2020

BENGALURU: Three days after domestic flights resumed operations, Karnataka sought on Thursday to cut down flights from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, citing a rapid surge in Covid-19 cases with the arrival of a large number of people from these states. The state government also virtually barred entry by road from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu by extending restrictions on road travel indefinitely.
At around 5 pm, briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting, law and parliamentary affairs minister JC Madhuswamy caused a flutter, saying the state wanted flights from these five states to be barred. As the headlines created ripples across the country, he clarified around two hours later that the state government has requested the civil aviation ministry to “restrict” the number of flights coming into Karnataka from these five states as they have registered a record number of cases in the past few days.
Madhuswamy said the government has written to the Union ministry and is awaiting a response.
The state’s request is based on two points: one, the majority of Covid-19 cases reported in Karnataka in the past 10 days have travel histories to these states; and two, institutional quarantine facilities in the state are likely to be overwhelmed if there is a sudden spurt in the number of passengers.
When domestic air travel resumed in the country on Monday after nearly two months of lockdown, Karnataka stipulated a mandatory seven days’ institutional quarantine for passengers coming from seven states — including Maharashtra, Gujarat, TN, Rajasthan and MP — which have a high prevalence of cases.
Madhuswamy said existing restrictions on entry by road from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat would continue till further orders. “Since a large number of people who have come from these states have tested positive and it will be difficult to manage quarantine if more people come, we have decided to stop (arrivals) by imposing restrictions… until some people leave quarantine facilities and return home,” he said. In effect, applications will continue to be processed via the Seva Sindhu portal as before but, sources said, approvals are likely to be delayed until space in quarantine facilities frees up.
The government is likely to take a call on trains to these three states once services resume on June 1; entry from these states has been barred since May 18.
The government estimates that 13,000-15,000 people would come to Karnataka from other states if all scheduled flights operate at full capacity, which would make it difficult for the government to arrange institutional quarantine for all. “Keeping this in mind, we have requested the Centre to reduce the number of flights operating to Karnataka from these five states,” Madhuswamy said.
Bheema crossover from Maha
The Karnataka government has decided to step up vigil on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border along the Bheema river, which passes through Vijayapura, Kalaburagi and Yadgir districts. “Since the river has dried up, people are crossing the riverbed to reach Karnataka from Maharashtra. Against this background, we have instructed the district administrations to keep track and stop people entering the state illegally,” the minister added.

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