Maharashtra makes RT-PCR test mandatory for Kerala passengers

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The government in Maharashtra has made RT-PCR tests mandatory for passengers coming into the state from Kerala. The Maharashtra government had in November 2020 issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) making an RT-PCR negative report mandatory for the domestic air travellers as well as railway and road passengers arriving from Delhi, Rajasthan, Goa and Gujarat states. This has now been extended to the state of Kerala as well.

In a new notification issued on February 10, the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, Sanjay Kumar, stated that the Standard Operating Procedure issued to all the passengers arriving in Maharashtra will be extended to those coming from Kerala with immediate effect.

Kerala has been reporting a high number On Wednesday, Kerala's active cases touched 64,390, the highest in the country, as 5,980 fresh COVID-19 cases were reported, pushing the caseload to 9.83 lakh. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that after the peak in October, there has been a decline in the numbers, with active cases touching 72,891 on January 24 and further dipping to 67,650 by February 7. However, the situation was still serious, he said, adding that the vigil against the virus should continue.

Earlier, the Karnataka government announced that students coming from Kerala to Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysuru, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar districts must carry a negative COVID-19 test certificate that is not older than 72 hours. This applies to students living in hostels in Karnataka as well, the Health Department has specified.

In November, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Mumbai had directed the ward offices to deploy staff at the railway stations in the metropolis to check the passengers' documents and conduct tests, if necessary. The BMC circular also asked the ward officers to conduct rapid antigen tests on symptomatic passengers at the railway stations and to coordinate with the private laboratories for collection of samples for antigen testing.

The government's SOPs say that "passengers not testing or found COVID-19 positive shall be sent to COVID Care Centre (CCC)" with the cost of further care being borne by passengers.

Also read: Kerala students coming to 5 Karnataka districts require COVID-19 negative test result