Sealing border only way to contain COVID-19, law & order situation: Yediyurappa

The Karnataka-Kerala border was sealed after the coronavirus outbreak

yediyurappa-covid-new [File] B.S. Yediyurappa (centre) said he wanted to ensure the safety of the people of Karnataka

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Monday refused to open the Karnataka-Kerala border stating that it led to the spread of COVID-19 in the border districts.

Reiterating his stand on the issue, three days after the Supreme Court urged the two states to arrive at an amicable solution and asked chief secretaries of both the states to sit with Union Health Secretary to iron out a solution, Yediyurappa said it was the only way to protect the interests of his state.

“We all know the neighbouring district Kasaragod (in Kerala) is reporting many cases. So, in the best interest of my state, I am forced to seal the border and contain the pandemic. The situation in Mangaluru is going out of our hands, too. So, we want to ensure the safety of our citizens,” said Yediyurappa, speaking to a private channel in Bengaluru.

After Karnataka imposed the blockade, the Kerala High Court had ordered to open the border, as Kerala had stated that the movement of essential commodities and patients had been obstructed. However, the growing number of COVID-19 patients from Kerala seeking admission to Mangaluru hospitals caused a furore as locals feared the spread of the pandemic as Kasaragod is one of the “worst-hit” districts in the country, with 139 cases reported till April 5.

Senior leaders from Karnataka—former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah wrote a letter urging Yediyurappa to open the border.

The Karnataka government moved the SC challenging the Kerala High Court order to open the border.

Karnataka informed the apex court that opening the blockade would cause a law and order issue as the local population wanted the border to remain sealed.

The Supreme Court has listed the case for further hearing on April 7.