The Karnataka government said on Thursday that it has asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation to reduce the number of incoming flights from five states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – in a bid to control the coronavirus outbreak in the state, NDTV reported. All five states have reported very high numbers of coronavirus cases.
The Karnataka government issued a clarification on Thursday evening, after news reports said that it had decided to ban all flights, as well as other transport coming from the five states.
“Karnataka has appealed to the Civil Aviation Ministry to take steps to lessen the air traffic to the state, with the sacred intention that there may not be adequate quarantine facilities, if there is huge turnout at a short span of time,” state Law Minister JC Madhuswamy said. The minister added that restrictions have also been imposed for people coming by road from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, to ensure that adequate quarantine facilities are available for all.
The state government took the decision after it transpired that most of the new cases in Karnataka have been of people travelling from other states or countries.
The state has so far reported 2,533 cases of Covid-19, including 47 deaths. On Wednesday, 118 of the 135 new cases in Karnataka were people who had travelled from outside.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka had first banned entry of people from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala on May 18, the day the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown began.
While the Centre had said that it was up to the states whether to allow entry of people from outside, it restarted domestic flights from May 25. Karnataka expects a footfall of 15,000 at airports every day.
Over 1.58 lakh people have been found infected with Covid-19 countrywide, and over 4,500 people have died, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Some states, including Karnataka and Kerala, have reported a second wave of the virus after domestic flights were restarted.