The Tamil Nadu government has announced a partial closure of its border with Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh from Saturday morning till March 31, in efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Deccan Herald reported. According to the ban, non-essential vehicular traffic from these states will not be allowed to enter the state.

This ban will not be applicable to vehicles transporting milk, vegetables, petrol, diesel, medicines and gas cylinders, or ambulances. “Other goods vehicles, light commercial vehicles with people travelling for unavoidable reasons like deaths will also be allowed,” a statement said. However, all commuters will be subjected to screening and their vehicles will be disinfected.

The order came days after Chief Minister vested powers to district authorities to seal the state borders or direct establishments to shut down to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

The state, however, has not yet imposed a ban on public transport but said it will function in a limited manner to facilitate the essential movement of people.

A report by The News Minute, citing Malayalam news channels, said that both Kerala and Tamil Nadu authorities are carrying out thermal screenings and checkings at the border. Meanwhile, the Nilgiris district administration in Tamil Nadu has claimed to have a “tacit understanding” with the authorities of Chamarajanagar in Karnataka, under which non-essential travel will not be permitted.

“We are allowing vehicles to transport children back to Karnataka from school in our district,” Nilgiris District Collector Innocent Divya told The News Minute. “No other vehicles are being allowed right now to and from Karnataka. Chamrajnagar authorities are also following the same policy. So, if a family in a car is going for a holiday, funeral or marriage, it will not be entertained.”

Tamil Nadu has already ordered the closure of public spaces such as malls, theatres, parks, amusement parks, as well as government schools and colleges. It has also issued directives to private companies to give employees the option to work from home as much as possible.

The state has reported three cases of the COVID-19 infection till now. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India rose to 258 on Saturday.