With the Centre’s ‘Unlock 1’ phase well underway and Karnataka, along with other states, resuming most economic activities, large-scale movement of persons to and within the state is bound to follow.
The state government has realised that institutional quarantine facilities will not be able to cope in the new situation, and strict home quarantine of high-risk persons may be the most effective way of controlling the spread of Covid-19.
With this in mind, the Health and Family Welfare Services Department has issued a circular on Saturday setting out a detailed process for screening, quarantine and testing of inter-state travellers. (Read detail circular here: https://thebengalurulive.com/up/Circular%20-%20unlock%20period.pdf)
The circular is as follows:
1. As part of the strategy to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, strong controls were placed in terms of prohibition of most economic activities including inter-state travel since 25.03.2020. Those lockdown prohibitions on inter-state travel were relaxed from 29.04.2020 to allow for travel of migrant workers and stranded persons from other states to Karnataka. Such persons were required to apply in the Seva Sindhu portal of the Government of Karnataka and they were given e-passes after approval. For regulating the entry of such persons into Karnataka, check posts have been established and an elaborate process of verification, medical check-up and record in the system for surveillance purposes was put in place. The processes at the designated checkposts so far are independent of the applications in the Seva Sindhu portal. As a result, manual collection of information is being organized requiring anunduly long time.
2. In the Standard Operating Procedures version-3 (SOP 3) for inter-state passengers (returnees) to Karnataka communicated vide letter no: DHS/DD/SSU/COVlD-19/17/2019-20 dated 22.05.2020 of the Commissioner, HFW, the processes for e-pass verification, medical check-up, recording of entry in contact tracing app at the border receiving centre and receipt and verification at the district receiving centre and assignment of institutional quarantine facility were prescribed.
3. Since 01.06.2020, the strategy for controlling the spread of the pandemic has changed from Lockdown to Phased Reopening (Unlock 1), in which there is no requirement of e-permits for nter-state travel but appropriate regulations are applied for the purpose of the surveillance. The Government of Karnataka has issued those regulations vide order number RD 1, 3rd Floor, IPP Building, Anand Rao Circle, Bangalore – 560 009, 158 TNR 2020 (PI) dated 03.06.2020, titled “Regulation of movement of persons from other states to Karnataka”. The same is attached as Annexure 1 to this circular. (For travellers from Maharashtra, the quarantine will be 07 days in an institution and 07 days at home).
4. The processes at the Seva Sindhu portal have been aligned mostly with the above-mentioned regulation and the remaining few aspects regarding transit travellers and daily workers to and from adjoining districts across state’s borders will be in place by 08.06.2020. The realigned process at the portal envisages self-registration and an IT system-based issue of acknowledgement for most categories of travellers and verification stage-based issue of acknowledgement for a few categories such as transit travellers and those obliged to be in institutional quarantine.
5. For facilitating medical check-up, verification and record at the BRCs in an efficient manner and for solving the problems being faced at the BRCs due to the manual process and different IT system, a mobile-based application linked to the Seva Sindhu portal has been developed. The app also has the functionality to inform the District Receiving Centres (DRCs) about the travellers who enter the specified BRCs so that appropriate surveillance and quarantine activities in the destination districts are taken up. The overall objective of the IST Verification App is to facilitate regulation of inter-state travel in an efficient and user-friendly manner in terms of time and effort for the travellers as well as for government officials. The User Manual for the IST Verification App is attached as Annexure 2 to this SOP document.
6. This document mainly covers the verification and recording of the entry of the IST in Karnataka. The medical assessment is to be recorded only for symptomatic travelers. The recommended process is as detailed below.
A. At Border Receiving Centre (BRC), physical barriers should be set up for orderly movement of ISTs and for ensuring that all ISTs are first checked for symptoms and only asymptomatic ISTS are then allowed to go to the next stage of Self Registration (SR) verification. Adequate number of medical check-up and verification counters should be set up so that the wait time at the BRCs is not too long.
a) Medical Check-up: Fever and symptom check
Record health status and hospital location in App (by fetching record with GSC last 7 digits) and send to hospital at BRC district.
. Ensure that the symptomatic ISTS are segregated and are not allowed to go to the next counter for SR verification.
. A symptomatic IST travelling alone must be admitted in DCHC / DCH of the border district.
. A symptomatic IST travelling with other family members may be allowed to travel to destination district and get admitted in DCHC / DCH of the destination district. This aspect should be recorded in the App, and concerned DRC should be alerted. Such IST should also be hand stamped.
. Hand-stamp each IST (except business visitors/transit travellers by rail / air) and send him to next stage of SR verification.
. Ensure that only asymptomatic ISTs are allowed to go to next counter for SR verification. The record of SR verification at that counter implies that the concerned IST is asymptomatic. No record of asymptomatic persons is done at the medical check-up stage.
b) Self-Registration (SR) Verification:
Separate Counters for:
• Business Visitors and Transit Travellers
• All others (migrant workers, special category and others)
ii. Business Visitors from any state:
• Verify mobile through OTP (this will be record of entry)
• See train / flight return journey ticket
. See Covid-19 test result issued not more than 2 days earlier
• See address proof of person in Karnataka he intends to meet
• Allow the person to leave.
iii. Transit travellers from any state:
. Verify mobile through OTP (this will be record of entry)
• See train / flight onward journey ticket
• See destination address and ID proof in case of road traveller
• See that hand stamping has been done
• Prompt the traveller to get his exit recorded at selected exit checkpost in case of road traveller
Allow the person to leave
iv. ISTs other than BV and TT from Maharashtra
• Special category from Maharashtra
See that they belong to special category.
Ask if there is any change in mobile number. If not, fetch the record by GSC (last 7 digits), record as verified for all persons in the family in one go, see that hand-stamping has been done, and allow to go to HQ.
If yes, fetch the record by GSC (last 7 digits), change the mobile, verify with OTP only for persons with change in mobile, record as verified for all persons in the family in one go, see that hand-stamping has been done, and allow to go to HQ.
• Non-Special Category from Maharashtra
Ask if there is any change in mobile number
If not, fetch the record by GSC (last 7 digits), select DRC location and record as verified for all persons in the family in one go, see that handstamping has been done, inform them about DRC location, and allow to go to DRC.
If yes, fetch the record by GSC (last 7 digits), change the mobile, verify with OTP only for persons with change in mobile, select DRC location and record as verified for all persons in the family in one go, see that hand-stamping has been done, and allow to go to DRC.
v. All travellers from Other States
Ask if there is any change in mobile number
If not, fetch the record by GSC (last 7 digits), record as verified for all persons in the family in one go, see that hand-stamping has been done, and allow to go to HQ.
If yes, fetch the record by GSC (last 7 digits), change the mobile, verify with OTP only for persons with change in mobile, see that hand-stamping has been done and allow to go to HQ.
vi. Exemption category:
For exemption category, verification of details shall be done.
B. At District Receiving Centre (DRC)
The activities at DRCs are expected to be much less as all those under home quarantine regulation will go to their homes directly. However, the DRCs should be operational 24*7 to receive ISTs under institutional quarantine regulation.
Scope: All ISTs from Maharashtra and symptomatic ISTs from other states travelling with their family members are required to report at the specified DRC.
ii. Number of DRCs: The district may set up more than one DRC, eg, at sub-division or taluka headquarters, depending on their institutional quarantine locations and need to reduce avoidable travel by the ISTs. They should inform their lists of DRCs to State War Room with copy to OSD Covid 19 latest by 07.06.2020 for setting up the master in the App so that the ISTs can be guided by BRCs to go to the concerned DRC only.
iii. Assignment of Institutional Quarantine Facility:
• Depending on choice of ISTs, paid or unpaid institutional quarantine may be assigned and recorded in the system, and those ISTs should be escorted to the facility.
iv. Admission of symptomatic ISTs in DCHC or DCH:
• A symptomatic IST travelling alone will be admitted at DCHC / DCH of the border district only.
• However, a symptomatic IST travelling with family may be allowed by BRC, if requested, to get admitted in DCHC / DCH of the destination district. Such symptomatic IST should be admitted and a record made in the App.
Swab Collection: Arrangements shall be made for swab collection of special category asymptomatic travellers seeking exemption along with one accompanying person. Sample collection room / kiosk along with trained lab technician with PPE may be arranged at the nearest health facility (for road travellers)/ railway station / Airport
vi. Action against ISTs not reporting at DRC:
The App facilitates generation of periodic report of ISTs from Maharashtra who do not report at DRC even 24 hours after their entry in the state. Following actions should be taken against those ISTs.
• FIR should be lodged and the police authorities should be requested to trace those ISTs by using technology based on their mobile numbers.
• Local enquiry at the given address should be carried out, and if found at home, those persons should be put in institutional quarantine.
C. Quarantine Watch
The information of all ISTs reporting at BRCs will be transferred from IST Verification App through an API and made available to districts for enforcing the quarantine and surveillance activity. A separate SOP for quarantine watch will be issued shortly. In the meantime, districts are advised to take advance preparatory action for the following activities.
i. Address sorting centre at district level
Set up a minimum 10-seater address sorting centre with volunteers or data entry operators (they can be paid appropriate honorarium / fee) with computer facility;
State War Room will provide a web application with Google Earth-based search facility for sorting of addresses of the ISTs, i.e., assigning Ward Number and Booth Number in urban areas and GP and village in rural areas;
It may take a few more days to incorporate address field masters in SS portal so that GP and village level information can be taken in the self-registration form itself. Thereafter, sorting of addresses for rural areas most likely will not be required.
However, for urban areas the sorting requirement will continue as the travellers are unlikely to readily know or remember their ward and polling booth numbers.
ii. Formation of Ward Task Force in urban areas and Gram Panchayat Task Force in rural areas
Complete this activity, if not done already. Executive officer, TP and Municipal Commissioner / Chief Officer, ULB should be made responsible for formation of these task forces and daily supervision of their activities;
The overall supervision of the quarantine watch at taluk level, both rural and urban areas, should be done by Taluk Level Disaster Management Committee headed by taluk Tehsildar formed (or to be formed as part of the district disaster management plan);
Members of the Local Body, Resident Welfare Associations, NGOs should also be made members of these task forces as active involvement of the community at large is very essential for adherence to quarantine regulations by ISTs and contacts. Names, mobile numbers of the members should be kept ready in Excel sheet form.
iii. Mapping polling booths to wards in urban areas
• Identify polling booths which come in each ward in the urban areas. A booth should be assigned to a ward in which most of its area lies.
• Such identification is not recommended in rural areas, as the village itself can be taken as a unit for formation of teams for quarantine watch.
iv. Forming booth level teams in urban areas and village level teams in rural areas reporting to respective Ward / GP Task Force
Form 3-member team for each booth in urban area and each village with BLO, beat constable and one more official / elective representative of local body / RWA or NGO member.
Collect their mobile numbers.
These teams should function under supervision of the respective task forces.
7. Moving forward towards resumption of most economic activities, a large-scale movement of persons across the state’s borders and within the state is expected. In that situation, strict home quarantine of high-risk persons may be the most effective way of controlling spread of the pandemic. The above preparatory activities are suggested for that purpose.