A couple of days ago, Indian authorities announced the resumption of domestic flights in India, with several safeguard measures in place. Ticketing opened yesterday and is going strong. One of the assurances given to everyone at the time of relaunching flights by the ministry was that there would be one India one policy and people won’t have to fear getting locked down in the other state with a quarantine.
Now, various states have started to bring up their own rules, many of whom want to quarantine people on arrival into the state. This move is bound to catch flyers unaware since this will make their journey back home very tedious and add another period of separation from their families.
Karnataka’s government released their SOPs for inter-state travel last evening. As per Karnataka,
- The returnees from high prevalence states (currently Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh) coming via road/rail/air should be kept in institutional quarantine for seven days. After their CoVid-19 test comes out negative, they should be sent for home quarantine for another seven days.
- Home quarantine is allowed for categories given below along with one attendant after their test result is negative (swabs to be taken immediately after arrival)
- Pregnant Women
- Children below the age of 10 years and below
- Senior citizens the age of 80 years and above
- Terminally ill patients (For example, Cancer, Chronic kidney disease and Stroke)
The returnees from other low prevalence states should be asked to follow 14 days of home quarantine.
In exceptional cases where business people are coming for urgent work (for example bidders coming to participate in the auction of perishable/agricultural commodities etc.), they are permitted without the necessity of quarantine if they bring the negative test report of CoVid-19 from ICMR approved Laboratory & it should not be more than two days older from the date of travel. However, in case they don’t have such certificate, they have to undergo Covid-19 test & stay in paid Institution quarantine (Hotels identified by Govt.) till the test result comes out. After a negative test result, they will be allowed to finish their engagements & return.
Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu & Kashmir will require incoming passengers to undergo a CoVid-19 test and administrative quarantine. All passengers coming to J&K by air/rail will be kept in institutional quarantine for 14 days & tested for COVID 19 using RTPCR test. If tested negative, they will be sent home, if positive they will be sent to the hospital. The minimum administrative quarantine seems to be for four days, paid for by the person arriving in a hotel.
At the moment, this order has not been posted on the J&K Health ministry website, but a high ranking government official retweeted a tweet to this effect. Once we have the official order, we will upload that as well.
All passengers coming to J&K by air/rail will be kept in institutional quarantine for 14 days & tested for COVID 19 using RTPCR test. If tested negative, they will be sent home, if positive sent to hospital This is the state protocol under the Disaster Mgt Act @dcjammuofficial pic.twitter.com/8OC1NlHH6p
— JKUT NEWS (@JKUTNEWS1) May 23, 2020
Similarly for Kashmir, as per the Indian Express, Kashmir divisional commander, PK Pole, said, “All those passengers arriving at Srinagar airport will be put under administrative quarantine and tested.”
Passengers flying to Mizoram, per various reports, will have to obtain the prior permission of the state government for air travel and have to undergo a CoVid-19 test on arrival and mandatory quarantine for fourteen days. As per the Mizoram Government Health portal,
Those who have arrived from the COVID-19 affected countries/state should remain under home isolation for 14 days from the date of arrival in the state, even if they do not have any symptoms.
This rule is not new I think, but flows from the temporary regulations for prevention and containment of COVID – 19 (Corona Virus Disease-2019) in Mizoram.
As per Indian Express, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media, “Quarantining would be mandatory for all those who reach Kerala via domestic flights. Whatever be the mode of travel to Kerala, all those who come from outside have to go into quarantine. However, it would not be binding on those who come to the state for 1-2 days for business purposes and then go back. But, this category of passengers will also have to observe necessary preventive guidelines.”
Some other states, via Indian Express,
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that people arriving by any mode would have to stay in quarantine for 14 days.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has, meanwhile, said it plans to screen all passengers on arrival at the Mumbai airport and quarantine them at home for 14 days. It said the state and the Centre will discuss this subject to formalise the guidelines.
The governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have decided to quarantine people arriving on flights as well as other modes of transport.
Travelling across the country is going to be akin to travelling across a different country at the moment, with each state taking their own precautions and making their own regulations for the time being. So, things will change on an ongoing basis, and one will need to plan for a long stay before heading for a flight I suppose going forward.
What do you make out of the new guidelines for air travel and how states are approaching the issue?
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