People trying to skirt quarantine requirement will be traced, says Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

Published : March 24, 2020 17:53 IST

Outside Madurai airport, buses lined up to take passengers arriving from abroad to a quarantine facility. Photo: PTI

Instances have come to light of Indians arriving from abroad to airports outside the State where they stay and travelling, by road, to their home State, according to statements by two Chief Ministers of the southern-most Indian States.

Making a statement in the floor of the Assembly on Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamy said that some instances of people from abroad flying to airports such as Bangalore and travelling to Tamil Nadu by road had come to light. This was done to circumvent the quarantine requirement, he said, and added that the government was involved in tracing all such people.

In fact, on March 23 the government had issued a press release stating that all those who had come from foreign destinations since March 1 should self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. The government warned that in case this was not being done, it was capable of tracing such people and taking action against them.

All international flights have since been halted and the lockdown announced by the State would ensure that even if someone had landed in an airport outside Tamil Nadu, he or she would not be able to travel to the State.

Kerala case

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, too, had mentioned the case of a person from Kasaragod who flew into Mangalore and travelled to his home town. Multiple travellers had noted on the social media platform Twitter that the screening for coronavirus in some airports in India, including Mangalore, was lax. The Chief Minister said the person from Kasaragod had met several people before he was finally found to be positive for the infection.

Both Kerala and Tamil Nadu, like some of the proactive States in India, are contemplating even tougher movement restrictions to slow down the spread of the virus.

However, it is not to circumvent any law that some travellers use airports located in another State. In the case of Kerala, districts such as Palakkad and some parts of Thrissur are accessible more easily from the Coimbatore airport in Tamil Nadu than from the airports in Kozhikkode (located at Karippur) or Kochi. Similarly, there are people from Kasaragod who prefer the Mangalore airport because it is closer to Kasaragod and parts of Kannur than the Kozhikkode airport. The new airport at Kannur is still a developing one and does not offer the connectivity that Mangalore offers right now.

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