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Travellers from 5 states need COVID negative report to enter Delhi
Alok KN Mishra,  25 February 2021
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The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has made it mandatory for travellers who will arrive in Delhi from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab to carry their COVID-negative certification from 26th February to 15th March. The surge in COVID-19 cases in these states was discussed at the DDMA meeting and was decided to restrict the spread of the coronavirus infection and require necessary checks on arrivals in the capital city.

The order is not yet issued as expected, however a DDMA official said that it will be published before 26th February for implementation from Friday onwards. Those entering Delhi by road in personal or hired vehicles will be exempted, but those people who are travelling by train, public buses or air will be required to carry the COVID-negative test reports.

A government official stated that the decision was taken due to a spike in daily COVID-19 cases in these 5 states. The central government had advised these five states to intensify the number of daily RT-PCR tests and monitoring of mutant strains, and to increase the focus on strict surveillance and strict containment measures in certain districts. The Union health ministry stated that more than 74% of the country’s active COVID-19 cases were from Kerala and Maharashtra. Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab have also seen a surge in new COVID-19 cases in the last few days.

A government official said that implementation of the DDMA order will be very challenging as a large number of people arrive in Delhi from these states daily and it would be very difficult to keep a track on each of them. Because of lack of awareness in these states, many people might come to Delhi without the COVID-negative papers. Inspecting the documentation of people who are travelling by buses will be extra challenging due to the sheer volume.

The government is going to create awareness about the new travel norms and will also urge people to follow for their own safety and also the safety of others. The implementation approach will be clarified in the DDMA order. It is not known if the government will penalise the violators for not having the new travel papers.

The coronavirus pandemic is under control in Delhi and is reporting around 0.2% infection rate for a few weeks regardless of the number of daily tests is between 50,000 and 60,000. There are quite a few days in the recent past when Delhi reported zero COVID-19 deaths. Even the densely populated districts like North-East Delhi have shown a huge drop in the positivity rate. The district did not report any COVID-19 case on two days in the last week. Several of the 11 districts in Delhi did not report any COVID deaths for the past few weeks. 

Delhi has seen three COVID waves in 2020. As of 24th February, Delhi reported 10,903 COVID deaths with 6.3 lakh positive cases. They had conducted 1.2 crore COVID tests. Presently, the capital city has only 1,054 active COVID-19 cases. The government is keeping a close observation on the current situation and is taking precautionary measures because the pandemic risk has not declined yet and any carelessness can reverse the improvements made to contain the novel coronavirus.

Source: ET Healthworld
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