Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said on Sunday that only those who test negative for the coronavirus would be allowed to enter Haryana, The Indian Express reported.

Haryana will either seek a recent negative test report or perform tests at the borders using rapid testing kits before allowing a person to enter the state. Those seeking an e-pass will also have to produce a negative report.

Vij said that more than 70% of cases in the state are from four districts – Gurgaon, Faridabad, Jhajjar and Sonipat – bordering Delhi, and so the Haryana government is also creating specific guidelines for people who live in the state but work in the national Capital. A majority of the people who tested positive in these four districts had either contracted the virus directly from Delhi or their contacts who work in Delhi, an officer told the newspaper. “Thus, we need to exercise extreme restraint and monitor the situation closely,” the officer said.

Haryana has recorded a total of 912 cases and 14 deaths, according to figures from the state government. As of Monday morning, Gurgaon had 204 positive cases, followed by Faridabad (147), Sonepat (135) and Jhajjar (90). Delhi, meanwhile, has so far reported a total of 10,054 Covid-19 cases, and 160 deaths.

Last week, the Haryana government had given an undertaking in the Delhi High Court that it will allow movement of people engaged in essential services, including frontline health workers, between the state and Delhi. This decision came after the state was criticised for sealing its borders with Delhi in April. The state had also told the High Court that it will issue e-passes to all essential workers. The permits will be valid for the entire duration of the lockdown and can be used for multiple visits.

Vij said on Sunday that the Delhi High Court had ordered that only those who test positive for coronavirus should be quarantined. “But, how will we get to know who is positive and who is negative? For that, people need to get their tests done,” he said. “Then only we can allow a person to enter Haryana. If a person is positive, then why shall we take him in.”

Guidelines for people working in Delhi but living in Haryana

The state home minister said that certain guidelines were being drafted for people working in Delhi and staying in Haryana. “The employers should certify employees who work in Delhi and live in Haryana,” Vij said. He added that the state would perform tests at the border with rapid testing kits if the person does not have a report.

While the government is drafting guidelines for this procedure, teams for rapid testing and thermal screening have been deployed at the state borders. However, according to The Week, owing to shortage of staff and resources, the state has dropped this idea and wants Delhi to take the initiative to facilitate the travel of residents to Haryana for work.

“In this hour of crisis we have to save lives and focus on expanding business,” Vij said. “Hence, there is a need to formulate strict laws along with relaxation in lockdown. Just as wearing of helmets is mandatory in the same manner, law should be made for wearing facemasks compulsory.” He said that the state will exercise “utter caution” while relaxing the lockdown. “The world is in crisis and we have to think before taking any step.”

The nationwide lockdown that began on March 25 to combat the coronavirus crisis, has now been extended till May 31. Haryana will also follow the new guidelines and the state will be divided in five zones including green, orange, red, containment and buffer zones. The relaxations will not apply to “containment zones”, as suggested by the central government guidelines.

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