Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: States in south India lifting business, transport restrictions as of Sept. 8; other COVID-19 measures in place through Sept. 30. 

Alert Begins 08 Sep 2020 04:28 AM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana states; Andaman and Nicobar, Puducherry union territories (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, increased security

Summary
Officials in southern India, including Andaman and Nicobar islands, Puducherry, and the states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana, are easing most coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions as of Sept. 8. However, strict controls on nonessential activity will continue in areas with a significant number of COVID-19 cases through at least Sept. 30. Under these measures, movement from affected areas remains restricted only to select transit points and for essential purposes. All public transport and nonessential private transport remain banned. Businesses - mainly those providing essential services - may operate with minimal numbers of employees. Residents must stay home and use delivery services to the extent possible.

Other nationwide measures continue until further notice. Limited public buses and most private transport are operational, with social distancing measures, outside containment zones with COVID-19 clusters; Metro train services are operational from Sept. 7. Officials are also permitting limited domestic and international flights, as well as special intercity trains for stranded passengers. Travelers from other states or countries will typically undergo a 14-day quarantine at home or in a government facility, depending on medical screening and local rules; international arrivals with a negative COVID-19 test result and short-term domestic visitors may be exempt from quarantine. People must wear facemasks in public and practice social distancing. Authorities will allow gatherings of up to 100 people and the reopening of open-air theaters from Sept. 21. The ongoing closure of educational institutions, most sports facilities, and entertainment venues, as well as a ban on large gatherings continue, and businesses must utilize telecommuting to the extent possible. Officials are also advising vulnerable groups who are younger than 10 years old or older than 65 years, and pregnant women and those with existing health conditions, to avoid nonessential outdoor activity. Urban centers have reported no significant decrease in cases, delaying normalization. Current or planned measures include:

 

  • Andaman and Nicobar: Authorities are allowing all public and private transport, as well as business operations with social distancing measures; regionwide weekend curfew is no longer applicable. All entrants to the union territory and freight vehicle operators on interdistrict trips along National Highway 4 (NH 4) must undergo paid testing and quarantine until results arrive. Similar rules apply to interdistrict travelers; while officials largely mandate rapid tests, RT-PCR tests are compulsory for those entering or transiting the Jarawa tribal reserve, as well as Nicobar District, to protect tribal populations from COVID-19 outbreaks. Additional quarantine may be mandatory for symptomatic travelers, regardless of test results.

 

  • Andhra Pradesh: Business and movement restrictions are active in containment zones, mainly in high-risk districts such as Chittoor and Prakasam. Interstate public transport remains limited, especially with neighboring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. Authorities plan to reopen educational institutions Sept. 21 partially. All travelers entering the state must register online up to 72 hours before travel; asymptomatic passengers will undergo a 14-day home quarantine. International passengers entering the state without negative COVID-19 test results obtained within 96 hours before arrival will be subject to a seven-day institutional quarantine and seven-day home quarantine; passengers may opt to quarantine at approved private facilities such as hotels.

 

  • Karnataka: Authorities have lifted multiple statewide measures such as curfews and quarantine for incoming travelers with no symptoms. All travelers entering the state must register online up to 72 hours before travel; authorities are advising entrants to self-monitor their health for 14 days after arrival. International travelers entering with a COVID-19 test result obtained within the previous 96 hours, and those leaving the state within 48 hours, are exempt from testing and quarantine. Passengers staying less than seven days must be tested for COVID-19 at their own expense upon arrival and quarantine for a maximum of 48 hours until the results arrive.

 

  • Kerala: The state is modifying and extending restrictions in over 570 high-risk areas until further notice. All travelers entering the state must register online up to 72 hours before travel; asymptomatic entrants must quarantine at home for 14 days. Those entering with a COVID-19 test result obtained within the previous 96 hours, and those leaving within seven days, are exempt from testing and quarantine.

 

  • Puducherry: The nightly ban on public movement 2100-0500 remains in effect until further notice. Businesses are allowed to operate 0600-2000 daily; essential shops may operate without time limits. No advance approval is necessary for intra- and interstate travel. Asymptomatic travelers must quarantine for 14-days at their residences.

 

  • Tamil Nadu: Authorities have allowed resumption of businesses, as well as intra- and interstate transport. All travelers entering the state must register online before arrival; asymptomatic entrants - including international travelers entering with a COVID-19 test result obtained within the previous 96 hours - must quarantine at home for 14 days. Domestic passengers traveling to Chennai from other regions must also self-isolate at home for 14 days. Interstate passengers intending to leave within 72 hours are exempt from testing and quarantine.

 

  • Telangana: Although businesses and transport services are mostly operational, long-distance public transport services remain limited. All asymptomatic entrants - including international travelers entering with a COVID-19 test result obtained within the previous 96 hours - must quarantine at home for 14 days. Passengers intending to leave the state within four days of arrival are exempt from quarantine if they provide negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test results obtained within 96 hours before arrival.

 


Local authorities will continue to enforce and facilitate control measures. Emergency and utility services remain operational nationwide. While banks and businesses selling essential goods, such as fuel, food, and medicines, remain open in containment zones, officials will almost certainly regulate price, supply, and opening hours. Panic-buying and associated localized shortages of essential goods may occur in some areas. Sporadic clashes are possible if groups attempt to enforce business closures or defy official orders. Police may forcibly disperse unruly crowds. Violators may face legal action. Authorities could modify restrictions at short notice, mainly in major cities.

Advice
Follow all official instructions; minimize outdoor activity to the extent possible. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm business appointments, deliveries, work, and travel arrangements. Do not check out of accommodation without confirming onward travel. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Ensure access to essential items, plan for queues, and delays at available shopping centers. Carry proper identification documents, heed all security advisories.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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