Hours after announcing a ban on flights from five high-risk states, the Karnataka government said it would not go for a complete ban, but wished to restrict the number of flights come Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan
Following a cabinet meeting, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said a large number of people arriving from these states have tested positive for COVID-19, following which a decision was taken to stop their entry to Karnataka until further orders.
"We are grappling with a surge in cases -- most of them are asymptomatic and people coming from Maharashtra are the highest load," said Madhuswamy. However, people from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu will be allowed to come to the state by road and rail.
The government is also facing an issue with availability of quarantine facilities, as all people from high-risk states have to be quarantined in institutions as per current norms, either in hotels or hostels.
Madhuswamy said there are already a large number of returnees from the high-risk states in quarantine centres. “Once that gets cleared, we will allow people again,” he added.
"There are also many in quarantine who are worried they may contract the infection in these facilities. Hence, we particularly want to restrict travel from people from these three states," the minister said.
He said residents of North Karnataka districts like Gulbarga have also been walking across the border from Maharashtra and this too needs constant monitoring.
These restrictions are for about eight to 10 days, after which they will be reviewed. Domestic air travel resumed only on Monday after nearly two months of COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The announcements came at a time when the state is looking forward to opening up places of religious worship and a few other institutions like fitness centres from June 1.