Kerala will impose a 14-day quarantine on all air travelers except those who are coming for “one or two days” for “business requirements”, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
The statement brings some clarity on the question of what happens to quarantine rules when domestic air travel is restarted on Monday.
“The same rules that apply for train and bus travelers will apply to those who come by air too,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said today.
He was commenting on remarks by Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri that it is not practical to have a 14-day quarantine for domestic flights.
Pinarayi Vijayan too seemed to agree that not everyone needs to be quarantined, and said exemptions will be given to business travelers who are flying in for genuine business reasons for “a day or two”.
“The 14-day quarantine policy will apply to everyone else, such as people who are coming to stay here for a while,” he said.
The policy with regard to tourists and recreational travelers was not spelt out, but it is likely that anyone who plans to stay for more than a couple of days will be forced to undergo quarantine.
Since those who come by air from other places in India will be considered at par with those who arrive by train or bus, it means that they will need to undergo home quarantine for 14 days.
However, they will not need to stay in a government quarantine for seven days, as is the case for those who are coming to India as part of Vande Bharat mission from abroad.
As for short-term, business visitors, Vijayan said Kerala will announce specific restrictions to be followed by them shortly.
Kerala has so far received 9,367 people as part of Vande Bharat mission to bring people from other countries.
Out of these, 157 people are in hospital isolation wards after expressing COVID-19 symptoms. Given that these 157 persons arrived in 43 flights, each flight on average contained 3.3 potential Coronavirus carriers.
The specific number of people within this 157 suspected cases who have been confirmed to have Coronavirus via a test is not known, but is estimated at around 70.
Besides the 9,367 persons who arrived from outside the country, another 82,299 people have come from various states, including a large number of people from COVID-19 hotspots like Mumbai, Gujarat and Chennai.
Almost all of the fresh cases being reported in Kerala are among those who have come from overseas or other states and are currently in quarantine.
While all 24 cases reported yesterday were among those who had returned from outside Kerala, 40 out of 42 cases reported today were also among those who returned from outside.
Out of today’s 40 cases from outside, 21 originated among those who came from Maharashtra, while 17 cases found among those who came via Vande Bharat.
Among the 2 of local origin, one was from Kannur and another was a healthworker, Vijayan said.
Separately, a 73-year-old female Coronavirus patient who came from Mumbai died today, taking the total number of deaths to 4 (5 including the union territory of Mahe).
Thanks to the influx of people returning to their home state, the number of active COVID-19 cases has risen from 16 to 216 in around ten days.