Karnataka is facing a huge challenge of containing the spread of novel coronavirus following the lockdown relaxations. A majority of new cases since the second week of May are 'imported' from neighbouring states.
On May 23, the state reported the highest single-day spike so far, with 216 new cases being reported from across the state, taking the total COVID-19 cases to 1,959. The sudden spurt is due to the cases from the COVID-19-affected states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
As many as 190 of the 216 new cases reported on Saturday are those who entered the state from Maharashtra. Till date, 716 cases in the state have had interstate travel history to Maharashtra. Around 778 cases are related to the contacts of COVID-19 positive patient.
The highest number of COVID-19 cases among the Maharashtra returnees is being reported from Mandya, Chikballapur, Raichur, Yadgir, Davangere, Belagavi, Bagalkote and Vijayapura districts.
Sensing trouble, the state health and family welfare department has made the institutional quarantine mandatory for everyone entering the state from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, owing to their high COVID-19 positivity. People coming in from the rest of the states will be allowed home quarantine.
With the sudden spurt in cases, the state government has also done away with 14-day institutional quarantine and, instead, reduced the duration of the institutional quarantine to seven days, which will follow seven days of home quarantine. However, only those who test negative and are asymptomatic, will be sent home. This change in protocol will, hopefully, allow the quarantine facilities to accommodate the increasing flow of interstate and international travellers.
According to sources, the state is struggling to screen the influx of interstate travellers at the checkposts, railway stations and the airports, even as it stares at a dearth of institutional quarantine facilities. The staggered entry of the people into the state and mandatory registration on the Seva Sindhu app for all those entering the state is hoped to streamline the passengers.