The Karnataka government will "stamp" international passengers arriving at Bengaluru airport with a "home quarantined till..." sign using indelible ink, it was revealed today. The stamp, to be affixed to the back side of the left hand, identifies those quarantined for 14 days amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
"'Home quarantine' stamping with indelible ink for international passengers has started at Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. The stamp indicates last day of quarantine," a tweet by news agency ANI said this morning.
There are nearly 170 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, infection in the country, with at least three deaths linked to the virus. The first of those deaths - a 76-year-old man - was from north Karnataka.
As per the Union Health Ministry, Kerala and Maharashtra are the two worst-affected states, with 42 and 25 cases, respectively. Karnataka has 14 cases.
Last week Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's government announced five steps to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak in the state.
These included closing all schools and colleges in Kalaburagi district, from where the death was reported, and shutting down malls, cinema halls, pubs, wedding ceremonies and other large gatherings.
A 14-day home quarantine for all incoming international passengers from affected countries, particularly those like Iran, Italy and Spain, had also been announced.
This morning Congress leader P Chidambaram called for an "immediate lockdown of all our towns and cities for 2-4 weeks" in an effort to contain the outbreak. Similar calls were made Wednesday by a group of businessmen who wrote a note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Karnataka government's move comes two days after Maharashtra announced a similar measure for all home quarantined individuals, as well as those in hospitals and arriving at airports.
"This will help other people identify them if they break home quarantine and mix among the public," Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said.
The COVID-19 virus is believed to have originated in China's Wuhan district in December last year. Worldwide, as per WHO data, over 8,000 have died and 2 lakh have been infected.
With input from ANI