The number of Kannadigas stuck in various parts of the country who will be allowed to return home will be based on the availability of quarantine facilities in the State. The government on Sunday announced that it would foot the bill of those travelling by train to reach the State.

With institutional quarantine of 14 days made compulsory for those returning to Karnataka from other places, the State government is expecting a huge number of applications. Approval for this will be based on the quarantine facilities currently available, sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said. Also, only those Kannadigas willing to be quarantined for 14 days have been asked to register their names and destinations online, a note from the CMO said, after Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa chaired a meeting of senior Ministers and officials.

The decision comes as efforts have been stepped up to bring Kannadigas stuck in different parts of the country even as several new cases of COVID-19 are being reported among those who have been allowed back into the State. Priority in approval for return will be given to students, pilgrims, those who have gone for medical treatment or on travel and have got stuck in other States, sources in the CMO said. They added that several thousands were expected to return home in the coming days.

The State has also decided to test those arriving from other States for COVID-19 even if they have been tested in those States. Sources in the CMO said the decision to strictly implement quarantine protocols was taken as it was found that many of those who have returned were not adhering to the request for quarantine.

While the returnees will be asked to make clear their place of arrival and date during registration, they will not be allowed to return to their villages on arrival. Sources said the government was also under pressure from political representatives from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi region, and from the North Karnataka border districts, from where a large number of people have gone to Maharashtra on work.

Sources said that a fresh spurt in cases has been reported among those with travel history or their contacts. For Kannadigas coming from abroad as well, quarantine is seen as an important aspect to ensure that community spread does not happen.

Government sources said that the May 7 order on the protocol to be followed for people returning to the State was discussed at the meeting on Sunday, and it was decided to implement it strictly for those coming from five designated high-risk States — Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, and Rajasthan.

There will be a videoconference meeting involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers on Monday afternoon. Mr. Yediyurappa is expected to discuss issues related to the State with senior officials before the meeting.

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