Struggling to contain the huge COVID-19 surge, Maharashtra has declared six states, including Delhi and the NCR region, as places of "sensitive origin" in a bid to stop the influx of other variants of coronavirus into the state. Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte in an order issued on Sunday declared Kerala, Goa, Gujarat, Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), Rajasthan and Uttarakhand as places of "sensitive origin".
As per the order, passengers travelling to Maharashtra from these places will need a negative RT-PCR report of test conducted within 48 hours of their train travel. The decision has been taken to curb the transmission of coronavirus in Maharashtra and to "stop the influx of other COVID-19 virus variants into the state from other locations," said the order.
"These places will be considered as the 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," it said.
On Sunday, Delhi recorded the biggest jump in its daily COVID-19 tally with 25,462 new cases, while the positivity rate shot up to 29.74 per cent. Maharashtra, which is the worst-hit state in terms of the number of cases and deaths, on Sunday reported the highest number of 68,631 fresh infections while 503 patients died, as per the state health department.
With this, the cumulative caseload in Maharashtra mounted to 38,39,338 while the death toll reached 60,473. The Maharashtra government also issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for passengers from the six states of sensitive origin. For passengers travelling in long-distance trains from these places, the Railways shall share data of the trains that are scheduled to be running between these places and stations in Maharashtra with the local disaster management authorities, as per the SOPs.
The data of passengers will be shared with local disaster management authority each day, four hours before the departure from the origin of trains, the government said. No unreserved tickets will be issued from these places to Maharashtra. The Railways should ensure trains from the places of sensitive origin come to outer platforms where it is easier to conduct thermal screening (of passengers), the order said.
If the passengers are not carrying the RT-PCR negative report, they will have to undergo a rapid antigen test at the station, it added.