Mandatory 14-day quarantine for those from red zones

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The State government on Thursday clarified that persons seeking to enter Kerala from COVID-19 red-zone localities in other regions in the country would have to go into institutional quarantine for a mandatory period of 14 days.

They would have to pay for their food and board. Those who attempted to dodge the sequestration would face prosecution under the provisions of the Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020.

The government exempted pregnant women, persons above the age of 60, and children under the age of 14 from the regulation. They could isolate themselves at home.

However, the government would use a combination of geo-location indicating mobile phone applications, daily visits by health workers and police officers, and monitoring by members of local self-government to ensure that the returnees remained healthy and isolated adequately at their homes.

Those who arrived without entry pass at the six designated entry ingress points would be sent to institutional quarantine irrespective of the district from which they commenced their journey to Kerala.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had categorised 130 localities in the country as “most vulnerable districts in the red zone”.

An official said a considerable number among the estimated 70,000 persons who had applied for entry into Kerala via the portal of the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs hailed from epidemic hotspots in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu.

30,000 passes issued

He said the government had issued passes to 30,000 applicants. It had temporarily stopped the issuance of new passes to prevent the quarantine facilities from being overwhelmed by the returnees. It had staggered their date and time for entry to avoid tight lines and long queues of vehicles in border localities.

The police would prosecute arrivals who did not report to quarantine centres after being allowed to proceed in their vehicles from the border check-post. The State had decentralised the quarantine network to ensure that the returnees get to spend their sequestration period in facilities within their home district.

Health workers would test the arrivals for COVID-19 infection on the seventh day of their arrival. They would remove those who tested positive to nearby hospitals.

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