Explained: Quarantine rules if you travel to Bengaluru

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Travel and quarantine rules have changed since the publishing of this article. Visit this page to find the updated rules.

On Thursday, as the first Rajdhani from Delhi pulled into Majestic railway station, many travellers were taken by surprise when they were told that everyone on the train had to go through paid institutional quarantine in Bengaluru or go back to Delhi. Soon enough, 150-odd travellers sat on dharna and refused to go into quarantine, stating they hadn’t been informed about the rule beforehand.

The Health and Family Welfare Services Department has released a series of orders, circulars and advisories regulating inter-district, inter-state and international travel since early May. These rules have changed many times over the past week, leading to a lot of confusion. Here’s an explainer on the rules and conditions for different categories of travellers arriving in Bengaluru.

The process of travelling to Karnataka

a. Registration on Seva Sindhu

Regardless of whether you’re an inter-district, inter-state or international traveller, the process now begins by registration on the state Seva Sindhu website or by calling the helpline 080-22636800.

b. Screening and quarantining

“Everyone who comes in from outside is screened and quarantined now”, says Dr Shivakumar M, Deputy Health Officer, BBMP. Regardless of your mode of transport, you’ll be screened upon arrival in Bengaluru. “If you come to Bengaluru by train, you’ll arrive at Majestic or Yeshwanthpur. You’ll be screened at the station itself. This involves filling up a self-reported form, temperature check, reporting of medical history, among other things,” says Shivakumar.

Based on screening, travelers are classified into Category 1 – symptomatic, or Category 2 – asymptomatic. Those under Category 1 are taken to Dedicated COVID Heathcare Centers (DCHC) for testing.

Those under Category 2 are put under institutional quarantine in designated COVID Care Centers (CCCs) – either paid hotels/hostels, or free government shelters at schools or kalyana mantapas (wedding halls).

Quarantining at one of the paid options can be an expensive affair. “The 5 start hotels can be from Rs. 3000-5000/day, the 3-star around Rs. 1500 and the budget ones from Rs. 750-1200. There is also a free option at kalyana mantapas, but the facilities like separate toilets are not there like in the paid accommodation,” says Shivkumara.

Testing

In the case of international and inter-state travellers, both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons are tested after arrival using RT-PCR swab kits. If they test positive, they are sent to Dedicated COVID-19 Hospitals (DCH) for treatment and if they test negative, they may be released into institutional or home quarantine. The rules are less stringent for inter-district travellers.

To ensure home quarantine is enforced, travellers sent for home quarantine are briefed, stamped with indelible ink on their hands and are expected  to download three apps – Aarogya Setu, Quarantine Watch (for self reporting) and Apthamitra (survey for symptoms).

Further, a sticker may be placed on the house of a person in home quarantine and neighbours may be informed. The local RWA too, may be roped in to help as an enforcer.

“If possible, don’t travel right now. Stay put where you are, unless necessary,” says Shivakumar. While the circulars and orders released by the Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Services department since early May outline roughly the same process, regardless of type of travel (inter-state, intra-state or international), there are some caveats, exceptions and specific considerations.

Inter-District Travel

QuarantineTesting
Category 1 (Symptomatic)Screened at entry point and referred to DCHC for sample collection and isolation
If positive – shifted to DCH
If negative – 14 day home quarantine
Testing on arrival
If negative – referred to other hospitals and released into home quarantine
Category 2 (Asymptomatic)Screened at entry point
No quarantine
Not Required
SOP for Inter-district Travellers

State government had earlier allowed for a one-time pass for people stranded within Karnataka to go back home in other districts of the state. Special intra-state buses had also been arranged, keeping in mind the plight of stranded migrant workers.

But for inter-district travel now, you need to register on Seva Sindhu portal so as to get an e-pass.

Inter-district travel is still mostly reserved for those needing a one-time pass (stranded workers, students, etc.) and is possible only through specific entry and exit points of districts.

Screening: Like in the case of inter-state travelers, inter-district travelers will be screened for symptoms upon arrival at the district border entry points.

Testing and Quarantine: Category 1 (symptomatic) travellers will be sent to nearby DCHCs for testing immediately upon arrival and if positive will be shifted to a COVID hospital. If negative, they will be released into 14-day home quarantine.

On Thursday, Health Department clarified that Category 2 (asymptomatic) inter-district travellers need not be subjected to any kind of quarantine.

Inter-State Travel

QuarantineTesting
Category 1 (Symptomatic)Screened on arrival 
All will be sent to institutional quarantine for 14 days
Lab Testing will begin on 10th day
If negative, will be sent home after 14th day
If positive, will be sent to DCH
Category 2 (Asymptomatic)Screened on arrival
All will be sent to institutional quarantine for 14-days
Lab Testing will begin on 10th day
If negative, will be sent home after 14th day
If positive, will be sent to DCH
SOP for Inter-state Travellers

Seva Sindhu Applications: According to the latest Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for inter-state travel released on May 12, the following sections of people are allowed to apply on Seva Sindhu:

  • Those returning to the state due to death in the family
  • Those facing medical emergency/terminal illness
  • Pregnant women/elderly persons
  • Migrant workers/laborers who have been laid off
  • Students whose educational institutions/hostels have been closed
  • Stranded tourists/pilgrims
  • International travellers arriving at airports outside Karnataka.

Quarantine and Testing:

A recent press note dated May 16 clarified that as per the current policy of the Karnataka government, all interstate travellers will be sent into mandatory institutional quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.

After that, lab testing will be done from day 10 onwards and then they can go home on day 14 if result is negative. If the result is positive, they will go to Designated Covid Hospitals (DCH).

Exemptions: There are exemptions for pregnant women, the elderly (over 80 years of age), persons suffering from terminal illnesses and children under 10 years of age. For them, testing will be done within two days of arrival.

If test results are positive, they will be sent to designated hospitals like the others. However, unlike the rest, if their test results are negative, they will not have to complete institutional quarantine. Instead, they will complete the remainder of the 14-day period at home. At the end of this period, they will have to report back to government facilities to get tested for a second time, following which they will be either sent home or to the hospital.

International Travel

QuarantineTesting
Category 1 (Symptomatic)Screened upon arrival at airport
Sent to DCHC for testing and isolation
Tested twice – once on arrival and then on 14th day
If negative, sent for institutional quarantine at COVID Care Centers and tested again on 14th day. 
If positive, sent to DCH for treatment and isolation
Category 2 (Asymptomatic)Screened upon arrival
Sent for 14-day Institutional quarantine at Covid Care Centres
Home quarantine if CCCs don’t have enough capacity
Tested twice – once on arrival and then on 14th day
If negative, sent for institutional quarantine at COVID Care Centers and tested again on 14th day If positive, sent to DCH
SOP for International Travellers

The latest SOPs for international travellers were released on May 6 and 8. While they don’t mention the need for registering on Seva Sindhu, the portal has a section for international travel.

Screening: All travellers at points of entry (airports and seaports) will be screened for symptoms, as in case of domestic travellers. The screening process involves a self-reported form, thermal scanning, pulse oximeter reading (to check oxygen saturation in blood), stamping, checking of medical history and categorisation. Travellers may also be required to download the three Covid apps.

Testing and Quarantine: Category 1 (symptomatic) international travelers will be sent to Dedicated Covid Health Centres (DCHC) for testing and isolation. If they test positive, they will be shifted to Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCH) for treatment and isolation. If negative, they will be put under 14 days of institutional quarantine at Covid Care Centres (CCC). These include both paid at hotels/hostels and free options.

Category 2 (asymptomatic) travellers too will have to go into 14 days of institutional quarantine at Covid Care Centres, followed by a 14-day self-reporting period. In case there is not enough capacity at the centres, Category 2 travellers may be sent for home quarantine.

In a revision on May 8, the state government declared that all international passengers will be tested twice, once on arrival and then on the 14th day, after which they will be discharged if the result is negative.

Exceptions and Special Instructions: On May 13, the government revised the SOPs for international travelers to offer relaxations to certain groups of people. It excused institutional quarantine for:

  • pregnant women
  • children under 10 years of age
  • senior citizens over 80, and
  • terminally-ill patients (cancer, chronic kidney disease, etc.)

Home Quarantine: All asymptomatic (Category 2) passengers will be sent to a 14-day institutional quarantine. Home quarantine will be considered only in case Institution Quarantine facilities are over capacity or for those exempted (see above).

To ensure the home quarantine is carried out properly, local RWAs will be informed about the need to enforce quarantine. The mobile number of the traveler may also be ‘ring-fenced’ (tracked and monitored within an area).

About Siddhant Kalra 24 Articles
Siddhant Kalra is a writer and researcher from Delhi.

32 Comments

  1. Karnataka governments (Whether BJP or anyother party’s) do not let go of any opportunity to enforce strict rules, thereby collect handsome revenue. Usually high prices for Electricity, road/parking fines and state taxes are good examples. Hate to live and work in Bengaluru just because of the Administration.

  2. Its very bad. When Govt inform suddenly nation wide lock down and we stuck in different places. But when we want to travel to home or work place you people for asking paid quarantine after we stuck 60 days in different places. We are already stuck 60 days in other place. Kindly remove this paid quarantine procedure and its better to go home quarantine by putting Seal on Hands like initial days. Its good to change the inter-state rules.

    • Yes..I completely agree…If asymptomatic,person should be sent to home quarantine irrespective of its interstate travel or interdistrict travel..we are putting ourselves at risk by going through institution quarantine.. please change it to home quarantine

  3. My daugther will join Bicon Biologicals located in Jigni, Banglore on 4th June 2020. The company will be make the staying arrangement for her. Whether she can quarantine herself for 14 days at company’s guest house/hotel,as manufacturing of medicines are falling under essential product.
    An early reply will be highly appreciable.

    • Hi Sachin, I hope you are doing well and so is everyone at home. These rules are dynamic. So, I am not sure what rules apply on June 4th. The officials would only go by what information they have on hand and would not look to entertain exceptions. If they do not have a clause for allowing your daughter to stay at the Company provided guest house, she can probably talk to the HR Department of the company and check if they are ok with this 14 day quarantine and also if the amount will be reimbursed if she opts for a 3 star or 5 star Hotel stay. I would recommend not letting her stay in budget hotels or Kalyan Mantapas.

  4. Dear Karnatak Govt,

    We are stuck in Andhra due to this Pandemic situation and we are almost in Home quarantine for more than 1 month but now we are planning to go back bangalore but due to this mandatory qurantine we are not taking any risk to come back.

    I think, KA govt should think about Home quarantine with Geo tagging or Seal on hand or any other option.

  5. We would like to travel from Tamilnadu to Maharashtra(to join essential duty) via Karnataka, whether we should go for quarantine (we have no symptoms)

    • Home quarantine should be allowed with certain restrictions so that people cannot move here and there because we are already stuck for a long time outside state and cannot afford another institutional quarantine for 14 days

  6. Yes. This is absolutely atrocious.
    People who are asymptomatic and test negative should NEVER be quarantined, and allowed to go home.
    People who are symptomatic and test negative should be Home Quarantined, if possible.
    Only People who are symptomatic and test negative without any place to stay should be institutionally quarantined.
    The government must revoke these rules, and if not so, the centre must intervene in this matter. Or else, Bengaluru could lose its global identity.
    Come on, Mr. Shivkumar, be more friendly to everyone.

  7. The practical solution to avoid cistly procedures is to allow people who test negative for 3day institutional quarantine and ask them to be on home quarantine for seven days. This will reduce the burden of spending in hotels fir 14 dsys during this crisis time and also chances of getting affected in mantap environment.. Moreover pregnant women and their immediate family, elders above 65 death related cases can be screened and alliwed inside if negative with 10days home quarantine. Good work undertaken by govt will be construed as joining hands with hoteliers.. specially during this time of crisis diffucult for any ine to spend huge sums or stay in common facilities mantap for long time

  8. I am at Bangalore now .. but I need to go to Hyderabad to collect my relieving letter from last company and to come back for Bangalore with in a day.. what is the condition

  9. I’m very close to my delivery date, would need my family’s support. Can my mother and brother travel by own vehicle to Bangalore with out interstate quarantine rule?

  10. People who will travel after 31 may in domestic flights when they resume facilities. What is the quarantine process.

    • What after 31st flight starts and we come by flight to Bengulury and we are already screened at airport should one undergo institutional quarentine when already more than 2 months we were under lockdown already away from family please inform

  11. Thanks for the detailed article explaining the quarantine rules.

    Please clarify will people travelling along with Pregnant women also be exempted from institutional quarantine at Covid care centres if they all belong to one family and from and to addresses are same?

  12. Rules are not good for inter-state travelers. They should be give home quarantine option every one can not afford the stay at hotel.
    It will be very risky to stay at government shelters.
    My family & child(infant) are out of state & I can not afford to stay at hotel.
    I am worried, How I can come back to my work station.

  13. If a person or family come by there own vechile and they are coming for other state what will be the possible treatment

  14. Many kannadigas stuck in other states are not able to reach their home state just because of compulsory institutional quarantine. Karnataka govt has to think of kannadigas.

  15. Institutional quarantine is more risky. Home quarantine is better option. If 10 to 15 people in kalyan Mantapam for institutional quarantine with same washrooms to be used by all the person quarantined what is the use of quarantine. It’s better they go for home quarantine. Karnataka govt. Is not taking proper decision about quarantine.

  16. Rules are not clear for exemption of institutional quarantine.
    if child has less than 10 years,what about parents,they will also allow to home quarantine or not.

    • Other states don’t have mandatory institutional quarantine for asymptomatic people. The current rule of mandatory institutional quarantine should be amended. Home quarantine should be enough. Government not allowing home quarantine for parents accompanying the kids under age of 10 is very bad decision. How can a kid of less than 10 years is expected to manage life on his/her own.

    • how to tell if i were asymptomatic pre symptomatic or I gotbinfected say in one of Kalyan Mantapa given that congregation of more than 10 not allowed , how can 10 – 15 be put together in one place…incoherent understanding of risks…& preventive measures are eyewash…

  17. I will need to join office on june 1st post maternity leave. I have a 9 months old baby. I cant stay outside with baby which is quite impossible for me. Will government help me with home quarentine?

  18. Rules for InterState travel are nothing but money making model for Hospitality Industry ( Hotels) by Karnataka Government. The simple question is for the interstate travel why you need to test on DAY-10 of institutional quarantine?
    Why can’t the testing be done on Day 1 of arrival?
    Ideally Intestate travellers should be kept in paid institutional quarantine till the reports are out may be (may be for 2-3 days). If reports are negetive they need to sent for home quarantine by stamping them with non erasable ink as per SOP.
    The current rules are just to cause anxiety and discomfort to the arriving natives/citizens to Karnataka and offcourse take advantage of their situation and fill your pockets and of your friends with the heavy hotel charges ( as mentioned in the article)
    Btw is this the model Karnataka Government want to adopt to revive it’s economy ? Anyway Karnataka Government has no problem with all local festivals being celebrated without any social distancing or some of their friends marrying their children, again no norms being followed for social distancing. All the rules are only applicable to the general public who would anyways have no choice but to be forced to follow the whimsical and money making model of Karnataka Government.

  19. Which is really unfair .We stuck in AP,when we got pass and got to know about mandatory paid quarantine,ww dropped our travel plan which is highly impossible with my 7 yr kid . Karanataka govt you just want money from public.thats it .

  20. What if a mother is traveling with a two-year old inter-state and both are asymptomatic on arrival? Are they required to go to instt quarantine or home?

  21. What about if someone is travelling to Bangalore in their own vehicle?
    By the grace of God, they are fit and healthy. Have got the pass from both the states. Father and 3yr old son, travelling in self driven rented car.
    Please reply.

  22. Hi,
    My senior citizen parents are stuck in a UP village. Both are Diabetic and Low blood pressure patient. I cant let them go in Government facility or expensive safe hotels. My plan is to take a house on rent for them or we all remain in home quarentine with them. But with this Government rules, i am not able to call them back. Please help me in bringing them home.

  23. Under Inter State Travelers, the category of Residents of Karnataka who are stranded outside the state and returning is not mentioned.
    This needs clarification.

  24. It seems hoteliers in bangalore have done some setting with politicians to run their closed hotels by putting train passengers therein jabardasti.

    People will never forget the plight during this govt rule.

    Let the elections come befitting reply will be given.

Comments are closed.