K’taka Bars Flights From 5 States, Later Says Only Reducing Number

The Karnataka cabinet on Thursday, 28 May, announced that it will suspend arrivals of all flights from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan into the state to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, hours after the announcement, the government issued a clarification that there will not be a ban, but on reduction in the number of flights.

The state has also suspended rail and road transport from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat. However, flyers will be allowed to fly outside the state to these destinations.

The Karnataka Cabinet took the decision restrict arrivals after travellers from these state accounted for large of a number of new coronavirus cases in the state.

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The First Announcement

After the Cabinet meeting, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said “There are a lot of people from these states who have come to Karnataka already and are in quarantine. Many of them in quarantine are testing positive in large numbers. If more people come we fear that they will also get infected. So, unless those in quarantine finish their mandatory stay, we won't relax the ban.”

He added that several ministers had demanded this ban. "We have a lot of asymptomatic cases from those coming from Maharashtra especially. We have to test everyone coming from these states. And even those who are in quarantine without symptoms fear they will also get it. If more people come, they will have to wait in quarantine to get tested and it is better to avoid that. So, we have taken this decision,” he added.

The Clarification

Hours after the decision, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs JC Madhuswamy issued a clarification that Karnataka has not sought to impose a ban on flights from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Instead, they have asked for reduction in the number of flights.

The government’s official statement quoted the minister as saying: "The state government has requested the Civil Aviation Ministry to reduce the number of flights, emanating from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to Karnataka, in view of the high number of COVID-19 cases prevalent there. Karnataka has appealed to the Civil Aviation Ministry to take steps to lessen the air traffic to the State, with the sacred intention that there may not be adequate quarantine facilities if there is huge turn out at a short span of time, " he added

Another 115 COVID-19 cases have been reported from Karnataka in the last 24 hours, taking the tally in the state to 2,533 – 95 of these 115 new patients are inter-state passengers.

"As many as 53 people were discharged in Karnataka in the last 24 hours. 834 people have been discharged so far and the death toll is 47," a government statement read.

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