West Bengal on Wednesday made it mandatory for people flying into the state from Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana and Karnataka to produce negative coronavirus test reports, PTI reported. The order came amid a surge in coronavirus cases in these four states.

The West Bengal health department said in a notification that the passengers will have to take a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR test within 72 hours of the departure of their flights.

“In view of the increasing trend of Covid cases in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana and in continuation of earlier order issued last August, this is to inform you that the state government has decided that from February 27 noon, all passengers coming to the state from the four states shall mandatorily carry a Covid negative RT-PCR report,” the notification stated.

The West Bengal government’s notification came after Delhi also issued an order for passengers coming in from Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab to show negative test reports.

Several states in India are witnessing an alarming surge in coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, Maharashtra registered 8,807 new coronavirus infections – the sharpest rise in four months. Cases in Mumbai nearly doubled in comparison to Tuesday.

The Centre directed the states witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases to expedite the vaccination of their healthcare and frontline workers. High-level multi-disciplinary teams were also deputed to 10 states to support their coronavirus response.

Meanwhile, the government announced that it will begin vaccinating people above the age of 60 and those above 45 deemed at high-risk because of pre-existing medical conditions from March 1. Vaccination at government hospitals will be free of cost.

India on Wednesday registered 13,742 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,10,30,176. The new cases were nearly 30% higher than Tuesday’s count. The country’s toll rose to 1,56,567 as 104 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

Karnataka suspends mandatory RT-PCR certificate order for commuters from Kerala

Meanwhile, Karnataka on Wednesday suspended an order requiring commuters from Kerala to produce negative RT-PCR coronavirus certificates at border points, Hindustan Times reported.

The order had created difficulties for students, workers and people travelling to Mangaluru district from Kasaragod in Kerala for medical treatment.