Big jump in daily cases puts State’s border districts on alert

Travellers from Kerala subjected to Rapid Antigen Test in Kodagu even if carrying valid RT-PCR negative report

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•From today onwards, travelers from Kerala are subjected to Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) in Kodagu even though they carry valid RT-PCR negative report

•CM Bommai asks districts to prevent cross-border transmission after Kerala logged 35,000-plus cases and 215 deaths on Wednesday

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After Kerala logged over 35,000 cases on Wednesday, concerns of cross-border spread grew in the border districts including Kodagu, a key transit route for travellers to enter the State. The high-risk districts continue to be on alert.

The huge leap in cases and soaring TPR in Kerala have forced the districts to step up checks at the border checkposts for containing the spread.

The border checkposts in Chamarajnagar and Mysuru are also on alert over unrelenting active transmission of infections in Kerala.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has told health officials in border districts to do whatever it takes to prevent cross-border transmission.

Authorities in Kodagu have decided to subject all travellers entering the State through the district for a mandatory COVID-19 test even though they were carrying RT-PCR negative reports. The travellers have to undergo Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) at the check-posts. “Only if the results are negative do they get entry into the State,” said Kodagu DHO Mohan.

Dr. Mohan told The Hindu that RATs were done randomly all these days but the RATs will now be done to all travellers from Saturday and additional swab collectors are being deployed at Makutta checkpost.

“We have more vehicle movement at Makutta and therefore more staff are being roped in for the task,” he said, adding that RAT kits are available for stepping tests at the checkposts.

Kodagu is a high-risk district over everyday movement of people for trade and business reasons. Students also travel daily for college education. Workers are brought to Kodagu for coffee plantations.

All precautions are in place at Bavali check post in Mysuru district. “If required, we have a Lab on Wheels facility which can be shifted to Bavali for stepping up the tests,” said K.H. Prasad, DHO, Mysuru.

As a precaution, 490 residents of D..B Kuppe on the border had been vaccinated, he said, adding that 7,000 doses of vaccine had been supplied to H.D. Kote that borders Kerala.

Chamarajanagar is another district that is facing the threat of infection spreading from Kerala. All the checkposts in the district are active with stringent checks.

“Only in doubtful cases, we do RATs but we scan the RT-PCR negative reports carefully for their authenticity. Moreover, all passengers are thermal scanned,” said DHO Dr. Ravi.

In one of the checkposts, travellers from both Kerala and Tamil Nadu enter the State and additional manpower has been deployed there for checks.

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