The Punjab and Chhattisgarh government on Saturday announced compulsory 14-day home quarantine for passengers returning to the states via domestic flights, trains and buses, PTI reported. The administrations of five states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Assam –
and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have already said they will quarantine those arriving via domestic flights.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that his government would not accept certificates of testing given by any part of the country or the world. “Screening of those entering the state would be done at all border entry points and railway stations and airports, and those found symptomatic would be sent into institutional quarantine, while the others would have to undergo mandatory two-week home quarantine,” Singh said during a Facebook live programme.
The chief minister also added that rapid testing teams would check on the people quarantined at home, adding that there is likelihood of a rise in infections in the state as people return to their hometowns. “The state is taking no chances and has made elaborate arrangements for their testing and quarantine,” Singh said. “Five flights have come today and 20,000 people are expected to come from other countries on 88 flights while 60,000 are expected from other states. I will not let this infection spread any further in Punjab.”
Singh warned that physical distancing guidelines and wearing of face masks must be strictly followed to keep the situation under control. Punjab has so far recorded 2,045 coronavirus cases and 39 deaths, according to the figures from the Union Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday wrote to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, saying further spread of the coronavirus infection could not be averted if domestic flight operations restart.
“The Civil Aviation Ministry has decided to resume domestic flight services from May 25 and no separate Standard Operating Procedure has been issued for passengers,” Baghel said in his letter. “Details of each flight with elaborate information about passengers should be shared with states. Even 14-day quarantine for passengers only at state-operated or paid quarantine facilities should be made mandatory.”
At the time of booking the flight, the passenger should be informed about mandatory quarantine period and its conditions, the chief minister added. So far, Chhattisgarh has reported 214 coronavirus cases and no fatalities, the health ministry figures said.
Domestic flights have been grounded since March 25 after the government banned air travel to contain the spread of the coronavirus and will resume operations from Monday. Puri had said that an unnecessary “fuss” was being made over quarantine of domestic air travellers, adding that incoming passengers need not be quarantined.
India on Sunday recorded 6,767 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours – the biggest single-day jump in figures so far. With this, the total number of cases reached 1,31,868 and the toll rose to 3,867 after 147 new fatalities.