In light of the rising COVID-19 cases across India, Maharashtra on Sunday, 18 April, declared six states, including Delhi and the NCR, as places of "sensitive origin" in an attempt to stop the entry of other variants of the coronavirus into the state.
"These places will be considered as ‘places of sensitive origin’ from the date of this order till the time it is retracted or till COVID-19 stays notified as a disaster," the order issued by the Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte read.
The Maharashtra government has also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for railway passengers from the six states of “sensitive origin”.
How does this order affect you? What will you be required to do? Read on.
What are the six states Maharashtra has designated as those of “sensitive origin”?
Kunte declared Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), Rajasthan and Uttarakhand as places of “sensitive origin”.
I am from Gujarat. What does that mean for me?
Passengers travelling to Maharashtra from any of these six places will need a negative report of an RT-PCR test conducted within 48 hours of their travel by train.
I don’t have a confirmed ticket for Maharashtra. What should I do?
According to the order, passengers without confirmed tickets will not be allowed to board trains for the state. Further, no unreserved tickets will be issued from these places to Maharashtra.
Will I be screened before I board a train for Maharashtra?
Yes, all passengers will be screened at the station and only asymptomatic people will be allowed to allowed to board the trains.
I have a negative RT-PCR test. Will I still be screened?
Yes, every person who arrives at the station with a negative RT-PCR test will be required to undergo minimal screening procedures, such as thermal scanning and checking of symptoms.
I could not get a test done before going to the station. What now?
If the passengers are not carrying the RT-PCR negative report, they will have to undergo a rapid antigen test at facilities set up the station. If this facility has not yet been set up or is not feasible, passengers without a negative report will undergo elaborate checking. Once there is reasonable confirmation that they are not infected, they will be allowed to board the train.
What if I refuse to undergo screening?
All passengers who refuse to undergo screening or are showing symptoms will be moved to quarantine centres by authorities. But the authorities will also allow the person to shift to a hospital if a bed is available.
I don’t have symptoms and I have a negative test report. What happens next?
All passengers without symptoms and who have tested negative, whether within 48 hours or at the station will be stamped on their hands and will be required to home quarantine for 15 days.
What happens if I break quarantine?
All those with these hand stamps found outside home within the 15-day period for anything apart from medical emergencies will be fined Rs 1,000 and sent for institutional quarantine.
Will I be allowed to leave the station once in Maharashtra as I please?
Authorities have been asked to plan buses that are available to take passengers forward to their desired locations. The Railways is trying to ensure that most passengers disembarking from these trains take these MSRTC/local public transport buses in order to reduce contact with citizens. These buses have been asked to cover as many routes as possible.
I’m not from one of these six states. What about me?
The order does not mention a need for negative RT-PCR test. However, all passengers will undergo thermal scanning, will be required to get tested and checked, if asked, and will need to wear masks throughout the journey.
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